CITIZENSHIP AND INTERETHNIC RELATIONS IN LATVIA. A CASE STUDY.BackgroundThe break-up of the Soviet Union has led to the formation of many new states. For some Soviet successor states, this situation has led to the re-establishment of statehood. Old structures have dissolved and new infrastructures are in the process of being shaped to replace these. This situation has led to a re-definition of status for the different ethnic groups, especially the Russians living in these republics. This is particularly evident in the debate on eligibility for citizenship for the diaspora nations and nationalities. Latvia is here a case in point, since the percentage of immigrants is exceptionally high.Theme/SubjectThe subject under study is the citizenship debate and the relationship between ethnic groups in contemporary Latvia. The two main ethnic groups are defined as the Latvians, on the one hand, and the Russian-speaking inhabitants on the other. Questions posed are: Who are the political actors of Latvia? What are the main arguments in the debate? Is there a pattern of support for different proposed solutions according to ethnicity? Has the situation and argumentation changed in the course of the past 4-5 years? Three levels of actors are taken into account: the individual; the intermediate; and the state/parliament levels.Chapter one gives an outline of the subject and problem. The case study vs. other methods is discussed. The most important sources of information are listed. There is also a terminology discussion as regards the most frequently used terms in the thesis: conflict, ethnic group, nation, nationalism, political actor and demography.Chapter two gives an outline of the "history" of citizenship, demographic development and national identity in Latvia. This historical review departs from the period of independence and the proclamation of the Latvian state. A short historical review of Soviet Latvia until the restoration of independence follows.In chapter three, a survey of the political actors and options for citizenship is given. All three levels of study are examined: the individual; the intermediate; and the state/parliament levels. These actors are then seen in relation to three main proposed solutions to the question of citizenship: the zero option; the compromise solution; and the pre-war citizens option. According to the sources of information consulted, a pattern of ethnic division between Latvians and Russian-speakers can be observed. This ethnic division has become more polarized after the restoration of Latvian independence.In chapter four, different theoretical approaches to the problem of Latvian citizenship are discussed. The main theoretical framework is conflict theory, or more precisely: theory of ethnic conflict. The conflict model as described by Coser and Horowitz is applied. Complementary theories are also examined, since conflict theory is not the only possible approach to the problem in question. The nationalism approach is discussed. Ernest Gellner, Anthony Smith and Eric Hobsbawm are mentioned as important contributors within the field of theory of nationalism and national identity. Finally, some methodological problems are discussed in greater detail than was done in the introductory chapter.Chapter five embodies the analysis; the application of empirical material to theory. The characteristics of conflict theory: a perception of incompatible goals and interests, are applied to empirical material on the debate concerning Latvian citizenship. Analysis shows a pattern of incompatibility between the supporters of the zero option and the pre-war citizens option, since the option of compromise is largely abandoned. This pattern is to a certain extent observed along ethnic lines. Analysis of the context of Latvian citizenship reveals that the ethnic conflict approach is a fruitful tool in analysing some aspects of the debate, but it illuminates only part of a comlex picture. In order to get a more nuanced picture of the citizenship issue, supplementary perspectives are necessary. Nationalism and the role of national identity can be interpreted in line with the conflict approach, but the former is more concerned with content than form. The phenomena of nationalism and conflict are not fully understood without taking into account psychopolitical factors.Chapter six gives a short summary of the research results.