Tallinna venekeelse valijaskonna konstrueerimine eestikeelsetes päevalehtedes 1993. aastal ja 2009. aastal
The aim of this research paper is to study how Estonian media constructs one of the political groups in Estonia – the Russian-speaking electorate in Tallinn. For this combined research method, content analysis and critical discourse analysis were used. The theoretical part was based on three different minority theories which are important for explaining different aspects of the construction of the Russian-speaking electorate; the liberal multiculturalism theory which emphasizes the political participation of minorities, Brubaker’s triadic nexus which explains the threat that the Estonians might feel towards Russia and the Russian-speakers in Estonia, and also Smith’s core nation discourse which reflects the political discourse of the elites in the 1990s. The empirical part consists of articles from two daily newspapers – Eesti Päevaleht and Postimees. Two different local election years are compared – 1993 as the first elections after regaining independence, and the most recent elections in 2009. It is important to consider the historical context for both years as well: in 1993 - the recent regaining of independence, still quite tight connections with Russia and yet very recent memories of the Soviet era, large and uneven Russian-speaking population for whom the new situation in the independent state was probably more dramatic than for the Estonians, only emerging political system. As a result of this it was inevitable that a more peaceful and trustworthy atmosphere had not yet emerged, and the Estonians were uncertain about the participation of the Russain-speakers in the power institutions. In the context of 2009 we see a rather different picture with settling political system where the Russian-speaking electorate holds a steady position. This is not always perceived in a positive light because the Russian-speaking electorate supports the Centre Party which holds a non-dominant discourse on the state level, but a dominant position on the local level mainly because of the Russian-speaking voters in Tallinn. One could also see a greater fear of Russia’s interference because of the events of 2007. That is why one could state that the question of trust is still an issue, but in 2009 the contribution of both Estonians and the Russian-speakers is thought to be important. In the construction of the Russian-speaking voters, it appeared that in 1993 there was one dominating discourse in the overall media discourse and a few alternative ones. Smith’s core nation discourse could be seen in the dominant discourse, also Brubaker’s triadic nexus theory. One could argue that Smith’s and Brubaker’ theories are similar in that way that they both assume a feeling of threat from the side of Estonians towards the Russian-speakers. In the dominating discourse the speakers were mainly journalists and politicians. They depicted Russian-speakers as others, opposing them to locals and citizens. After elections people were warned against the Russian-speaking councilors at the city council of Tallinn. It was feared that this would hinder the development of Estonia. Also, the interference of Russia in the internal affairs of Estonia was feared. The articles published during the 2009 elections show a change in the discourse. The most wide-spread discourses were focused on the discussion about the support of the Russian-speaking voters for the Centre Party. These discussions part – on the one hand, Russian-speaking voters are seen negatively because of their support for the Centre Party, and on the other hand, the work of the right-wing parties is criticized and also the negative attitude towards the Russian-speaking voters is criticized for it is probably the reason why Russian-speakers vote for the Centre Party. The Smith’s discourse could be traced here, since it highlights the strife between the the Centre Party and the Reform Party. Because of the Russian-speakers the Centre Party dominates in Tallinn, and to that discourse the media discourse is opposing since it supports the discourse which is dominant on the state level. Besides that one could see the Brubaker’s theory as well, because the size of the Russian population in Tallinn is considerable and influential. That is why the feeling of fear towards the interference of Russia is still present. Still, the need to conclude the Russian-speakers is highlighted in the media discourse, so the liberal multiculturalism theory can be seen there. According to this theory the need to conclude all groups of the society in politics is essential. Another discourse, the minority discourse is introduced by the social scientists and it focuses on the rights of the minorities, also the role of Estonians in the process of integration is pointed out. It is recommended for Estonians to be more open-minded. So one could conclude that the liberal multiculturalism theory can be seen in the media discourse as an academic discourse. Comparing the years 1993 and 2009 the changes have been clear. One thing that has changed is the structure of the speakers – in 1993 politicians and journalists were the main speakers, in 2009 the social scientist have been added, and this has made the media as a public forum more plural, introducing different discourses. The plurality of the issues in 2009 showed that the construction of the Russian-speaking voters has become more complex and the argumentation is better. So, in 1993 the Smith’s core nation discourse dominated in the media discourse next to the Brubaker’s triadic nexus theory. Liberal multiculturalism was not found in the 1993 context. In 2009 one could see references to all three theories. In the light of the victory of the Centre Party in Tallinn Smith’s core nation discourse must be pointed out as well as Brubaker’s theory. To this the liberal multiculturalism theory has been added, existing next to the two other theories. In the argumentation over the political participation of the Russian-speaking electorate, the transfer from Smith’s core nation discourse to the liberal multiculturalism can be seen. In the context of 2009 the issue is argued in broader terms, the political participation of the Russian-speakers is seen apart from the strife in Tallinn as well, bringing liberal multicultural ideas into the media discourse. In the media discourse in 2009 it can be seen that the question of trust is still a topic and that the Russian-speakers have not been completely recognized as Estonians, but the fact that this topic was raised indicates that it is moving to a positive direction.
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