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Conflict Prevention in Estonia: The Role of the Electoral System

Miall, Hugh, Khrychikov, S. (2002) Conflict Prevention in Estonia: The Role of the Electoral System. Security Dialogue, 33 (2). pp. 193-208. ISSN 0967-0106. (doi:10.1177/0967010602033002007) (KAR id:287)


Estonia's success in averting a potential conflict over its Russian-speaking minority is often attributed to the intervention of the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. Indeed, the Estonian case is one of the most satisfactory encounters in the period of Max van der Stoel's impressive diplomatic engagement. However, deeper, structural factors were also important over the longer term. In particular, the voting system that Estonia adopted, based on the single transferable vote system of proportional representation, turned out to be important in encouraging political moderation. This article argues that a decisive factor in ethnic accommodation was the way the political system channelled the activities of the Russian-speaking groups into Estonian parties. Other contributory factors were the weakness of ethnic identity among the Russian-speakers and international constraints on Russian foreign policy. This analysis highlights the crucial role of domestic institutions in conflict prevention.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0967010602033002007
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions and public administration (Europe)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Alison Webster
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 18:08 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 09:39 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Miall, Hugh.

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