Right-wing extremism on the border with Russia: the case of Estonia

Article by Florian Hartleb on the rise of right-wing extremism in Estonia in the Zeitschrift für Rechtsextremismusforschung (ZREX), 2023


(double-blind peer reviewed)



It is not only because of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine that it is worth looking at the Baltic states, especially Estonia. The rise of right-wing extremism can be observed here in concentrated form like a burning glass: The ECRE party is a successful family business that has successfully steered the patriotism that existed after the country’s independence in 1991 in the direction of xenophobic, revisionist nationalism. The article uses Estonian primary sources to analyze how right-wing extremism has become socially acceptable in recent years. Publicly fueled phantom debates about alleged mass immigration in 2015/16, for example, ensured this. EKRE ties in with unresolved and unprocessed issues from the past. This includes reminiscences of fascism. It is astonishing that EKRE has been accepted as part of the government, just as the party is generally regarded as an important political factor in the country. The dream of an ethnocracy, which is evidently compatible in politics and society, is cultivated in a country that is characterized above all by the line of conflict between ethnic Estonians and people of Russian descent.





This publication is only available in German


Dr. Florian Hartleb is Research Director at the European Institute for Counter-Terrorism and Conflict Prevention (EICTP).