‘What is my country to me?’ Identity construction by Russian-speakers in the Baltic countries


  • Anastassia Zabrodskaja University of Tartu and Tallinn University




ethnolinguistic vitality, identity construction


Contributing to the research on interdependence between perceived ethnolinguistic vitality and identity construction patterns, the article takes a close look at the identities of Russian-speakers living in the Baltic countries. Combining quantitative and qualitative research, the purpose is to analyse ethnic, national, linguistic and imperial identity construction by respondents with different ethnolinguistic vitality profiles. The results show that linguistic environment and official language competence are very strong determinants of perceived ethnolinguistic vitality, which, in turn, affects identity construction. It is possible to distinguish up to five vitality clusters within each Russian-speaking community in the Baltic countries. The Russian-speaking groups are quite diverse in respect to the beliefs and ideologies connected with the host and heritage countries, languages, cultures and ethnic self-categorisations.

Author Biography

Anastassia Zabrodskaja, University of Tartu and Tallinn University

Anastassia Zabrodskaja is a Professor of Estonian as a Second Language at the Institute of Estonian Language and Culture in Tallinn University, Estonia. She also works as a Senior Research Fellow in Sociolinguistics at the Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics in the University of Tartu, Estonia. Her scholarly interests comprise language contact, dynamics and change in Estonia and ethnolinguistic vitality.



How to Cite

Zabrodskaja, A. (2015). ‘What is my country to me?’ Identity construction by Russian-speakers in the Baltic countries. Sociolinguistic Studies, 9(2-3), 217–242. https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.v9i2.26885

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