Peer-reviewed articles

Peer-reviewed articles have all been through a peer-review process. We practice double-blind peer-review. All material is reviewed by two independent specialists at least at post-doc level. A prerequisite for publishing scientific articles in Baltic Worlds is that the article has not already been published in English elsewhere. If an article is simultaneously being considered by another publication, this should be indicated when submitting.

Rescued from Stalin’s terror The unknown Swedish operation in the 1930s

The author analyses the operation by Swedish diplomats in the Soviet Union during the peak of the Stalinist Terror. Although Swedish communists living in the USSR have been in the spotlight of some journalists and historians, the extent of the different Swedish groups and the complicated diplomatic actions to help them are nearly unknown. Who could be saved? Who disappeared in the Gulag? The context is the Soviet actions against all foreigners in the Great Terror from 1937, forcing them to either become Soviet citizens or immediately leave the country. Comparisons are made with Finnish people in the Soviet Union, a group much harder hit by the terror than the small groups of Swedes.

By Torbjörn Nilsson April 23, 2024

Maidan, memory, and museum Relations between aesthetics and revolution, 2014–2021

This paper delves into the ways in which art and cultural expressions have helped to preserve the memory of the Ukrainian Revolution and how the Maidan Museum contributes to this effort. Specifically, the study explores the significance of the Maidan event in Ukraine’s national memory culture and how it is being integrated into the country’s historical narrative as part of the decommunization and decolonization processes. Additionally, the text examines how the politics of memory, as expressed through the museum’s performances and aesthetics, can serve as a tool of collective and national resistance. Ultimately, the article argues that the Maidan event is not fixed but rather dynamic, and Maidan memory plays a critical role in Ukraine’s ongoing transition away from a shared historical past with Russia.

By Galyna Kutsovska April 23, 2024

What art knows about democracy The aesthetics of the Revolution in Ukraine 2013–2014

Based in part on interviews and fieldwork, this article analyzes how artworks produced during the Ukrainian Revolution (2013–2014) present the political emergence of the Ukrainian people as a collective fused by bonds of solidarity. At first characterized by a strong universal thrust, presenting a boundless democratic anticipation, this solidarity was subsequently contained by religious-political traditions and specific forms of self-sacrificing and masculinist nationalism, often projected as a revolutionary utopia in its own right, which has been operationalized in the defense against Russia’s invasion. To substantiate the argument, the text analyzes numerous artworks from the Ukrainian Revolution. These interpretations demonstrate how aesthetic acts contribute to the production of bonds of solidarity that transcend existing modes of political and cultural representation of Ukraine.

By Stefan Jonsson April 23, 2024

Confined within the law Roma in Polish police journals 1920–1939

This article analyzes the Polish police narrative on Roma during the interwar time, unveiling attitudes and potential practices. According to the police journals and handbooks, Roma were mobile and disposed to theft and deceit. Their traditional crafts were merely a smoke screen for illicit activities. As countermeasures, searches of caravans, meticulous checks of identity documents, indiscriminate fingerprinting of Roma suspects, among several measures, were recommended. This narrative constituted part of a larger police professional discourse and is likely to be an indicator of practices on Roma. Polish police followed the contemporary European expertise on Roma produced by the fields of criminalistics and criminology. As there were no discriminatory laws targeting Roma in Poland, it appears that police used legislation against begging and vagrancy, among other tactics.

By Piotr Wawrzeniuk April 23, 2024

Making tomorrow’s leaders The transnationalism of radical right youth organizations in the Baltic Sea area, 2015–2019

Radical right parties (RRPs) have been extensively studied throughout the past two decades. One neglected aspect is the youth organizations (YOs) of RRPs and their transnational networks. This article analyzes the transnational links between the YOs of RRPs in Estonia and Latvia. The article contributes to the literature by arguing for four findings relating to the transnational links between the YOs of RRPs, which provide a window into the future of the parties being analyzed.

By Pēteris F Timofejevs and Louis John Wierenga August 23, 2023

International activities of the Belarusian Republican Youth Union: East versus West

The Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRYU) is an administered mass organization for youth in contemporary Belarus and has been supported by the Lukashenka government for decades. It is therefore well positioned to engage in international activities. What’s more, it claims to develop “multi-vector international youth collaboration” by participating in international programs and projects. This article aims to map and explain the international activities of the BRYU from the early 1990s until the present day. It asks how the association’s international activities look in practice and what explains these patterns. It finds there is a qualitative difference between the BRYU’s international activities with actors in Russia, the European Union and China. The article suggests that in comparison to the BRYU’s domestic activities, which have been the primary focus of previous research, the youth league’s participation in international affairs is limited. It argues that this state of affairs can be explained by its structural subservience to President Lukashenka, for whom the BRYU’s international activities are of secondary importance.

By Kristiina Silvan August 23, 2023

The role of Russian soft power in promoting authoritarianism. Targeting youth in post-Soviet Central Asia

The paper aims to explore the practical application of “soft power” in “hybrid” countries. The analysis is based on the example of soft power-strategies developed and implemented by the Russian Federation in post-Soviet Central Asia throughout the last two decades. The overarching research questions of the paper are the following — what are the most interesting features of Russian soft power in the changing geopolitical conditions of the post-Soviet space? How does it address local youth to secure Russian domination in the region and ensure the sustainability of local political regimes? What is the future of Russian soft power and geopolitical influence in the region?

By Oleg Antonov and Parviz Mullojonov August 23, 2023

Ring out the old and ring in the young: Upgrading Authoritarianism in Azerbaijan

Using Heydemann’s concept ‘authoritarian upgrading’ as the theoretical point of departure, this article sheds light on the adaptation of the Azerbaijani authoritarian regime that is taking place in the political arena, civil society, media and information sector, and in relation to religious practices. It elaborates on how authoritarian upgrading is associated with the consolidation of the authoritarian regime and suggests that the core of these measures entails making authoritarian norms and values appear more attractive and acceptable. Notably, it illustrates the conscious attempts to engage the younger generation across multiple sectors in authoritarian upgrading making them both a target and a tool in this process.

By Sofie Bedford August 23, 2023

ENHANCING DEMOCRACY? European presidents and national referendums from 2000 to 2020

Referendums have been extensively analyzed from multiple perspectives and different studies have discussed their various features and types and how different actors use them. However, little attention has been paid to investigating the reasons why political elites (i.e., European presidents) initiate referendums. Thus, this article explores the intentions and aims by analyzing 18 referendums called by European presidents from 2000 to 2020. Secondary sources, such as media reporting, official documents, and scientific works, have been analyzed using a comparative case study approach. The results indicate that presidents usually have strategic objectives when they call referendums, and that the initiation of a referendum is influenced by the anticipated short- or long-term effects that could result from the referendum.

By Paul Tap June 20, 2023

DISCOURSES ABOUT CHILDREN’S PARTICIPATION AND CHILD PERSPECTIVE A comparative study of policy documents that guide social work in Sweden and Germany

This article compares Swedish and German social work, including policy documents, and discusses the policies of these two countries regarding the implementation of children’s rights in social work practice. The analysis focuses on two main concepts that are used in social work practice: the concept of a child perspective in Sweden and the concept of participation in Germany. This study aims to investigate the ideas, values and guidelines mediated by political institutions to social workers in the field. The results showed that both the Swedish and German policy documents gave the distinct impression that the concepts had been properly implemented and formed part of child welfare practice. In the Swedish context, the idea of both making children visible and the formal aspects were highlighted, whereas in Germany, participation was related to an educational discourse. However, it is argued here that the discourses suggest that there is unequal relationship between children and adults, and we conclude that social workers must contribute to the child’s status as an active subject.

By Sylwia Koziel and Ylva Spånberger Weitz June 20, 2023