The Effect of the 2008 War on Estonian Public Confidence in International Organisations: A Mixed Methods Study

Jeroen Moes, Inge Melchior, Alexi Gugushvili

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When the so-called 5 Day War between Russia and Georgia occurred in the summer of 2008, the Estonian public reaction was especially passionate. Two major explanations stem from the strong identification of Estonians with the situation of Georgia (post-Soviet state, small country, Russian citizens/speakers on Georgian territory) and the question of existential insecurity (will the EU and NATO guarantee our security in case of necessity?). Using a mixed methods research design, in this study we investigate how the 2008 war between Russia and Georgia affected public confidence in international organisations in Estonia. Data for this study derives from three different sources. Firstly, the European Values Studies (EVS) conducted in 2008 offers a unique value for this research because fieldwork for the survey in Estonia coincided with the military confrontation between the Russia and Georgia on 8-14 August. EVS, among other domestic and international institutions, inquired about the level of confidence in the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which serve as the dependent variables of the current study. Using propensity-score matching technique, respondents who were interviewed in a time interval before the war are designated as the control group, whereas those respondents who were interviewed after the war started, can be designated as the treatment group. Secondly, the information from this dataset is further supplemented by observations and in-depth interviews conducted in Estonia both in the period around the Russo-Georgian conflict, and after it. This will enable us to go deeper into the embedded meanings of trust that Estonians exhibit towards international organisations, or the West more generally. Thirdly, we will offer a brief review of how the 2008 conflict was framed in Estonian media at the time, and how this may have shaped the perception of the Estonian public.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventXVII ISA World Congress of Sociology: Facing an Unequal World: Challanges for Global Sociology - Yokohama, Japan
Duration: 13 Jul 201419 Jul 2014


ConferenceXVII ISA World Congress of Sociology
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