Minority Response to Ethnic Democracy

Poles in Lithuania after EU Accession


  • Karolis Dambrauskas


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This article focuses on the evolution of Polish minority responses to Lithuanian minority policies in the post-EU-accession period.  State-minority conflicts in Lithuania have not generated violence or minority radicalization, despite continuing discontent among members of the state’s Polish minority (which constitutes Lithuania’s largest ethnic minority population) and the failure of the Lithuanian state to resolve the causes of discontent.  Employing Smooha’s concept of ethnic democracy, the article addresses this puzzle through an ethnographic exploration of the views held by members of the Polish minority about the Lithuanian state’s policies of nation-building.  The findings reveal a diverse set of critical perceptions among Poles in Lithuania, which emphasize the ineffectiveness of state policies in addressing minority needs.  However, a shared perception of threat from Russia, generated after the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, helps to sustain the regime’s stability and its strategy of stalling the resolution of minority concerns.

Author Biography

Karolis Dambrauskas

I acquired my BA in Political sciences in 2011 at Vytautas Magnus university in Kaunas, Lithuania (thesis title: Hungarian Fidesz Conservative Party's Policy towards Hungarians in Neighbouring Countries, supervisor Andzrej Pukszto). During these studies I was an Erasmus exchange student at Corvinus University of Budapest and an Erasmus trainee at the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs, Budapest. In 2014 I acquired my first MA in Anthropology of Literature and Culture at Vilnius university, Lithuania (thesis title: Czesław Miłosz's Vilnius: the Space of Polis, supervisor: Mindaugas Kvietkauskas). In 2015 I participated at the “International Summer School in Anthropology, Ethnography and Comparative Folklore of the Balkans”, organized by the University of Ioannina, Greece. In 2016 I acquired my second MA in Nationalism studies at Central European university in Budapest, Hungary (thesis title: Imagining Ethnic Democracy: Polish Minority's Response to the Governance of the Lithuanian State, supervisor: András Kovács). The thesis defended at CEU received an award from the Deaprtment of National Minorities in Lithuania as the best MA thesis written of the topic of national minorities in Lithuania during 2016. 




How to Cite

Dambrauskas, K. 2017. Minority Response to Ethnic Democracy: Poles in Lithuania after EU Accession. Intersections. East European Journal of Society and Politics. 3, 4 (Dec. 2017). DOI:https://doi.org/10.17356/ieejsp.v3i4.311.



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