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TRAMES. A Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences
ISSN 1736-7514 (Electronic)
ISSN 1406-0922 (Print)
Impact Factor (2020): 0.5


Full article in PDF format | DOI: 10.3176/tr.2016.2.02

Tõnis Saarts


The Estonian and Latvian party politics stand apart from the Central and Eastern European mainstream for two principal reasons: the peculiar absence of the communist-successor parties and the right-wing-inclined ideologically unbalanced party competition. All these features seem to be framed by unique cleavage constellations in which the ethnic cleavage is effectively merged with the communist-anti-communist cleavage. The article seeks to explain these exceptional features, while applying to the theory formulated by Herbert Kitschelt, in which different types of communist regime legacies are linked with cleavage formation and the evolution of party systems. However, the analysis demonstrates that Kitschelt’s original argument on the Latvian and Estonian cases was misleading and therefore a new type of communist legacy was proposed – the ethnic-colonial communism, which enables to provide a more convincing explanation and opens up new research perspectives on the subject.


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