Reviews & Briefs

By Dr. Indra Ekmanis

Commentary: Why the 'loser' in SNL's NATO skit is important

Baltic Bulletin, Foreign Policy Research Institute, December 18, 2019.

The NBC sketch show picked up on some undeniable comedic fodder provided by world leaders in a hot mic incident at the NATO summit in London, bringing the childish gossip into the school-like cafeteria. But where there are popular kids, there are bound to be the social outcasts — and at SNL it was NATO’s new members who fell victim to the bullying “bad boys.”

Interviewer: Discussion with author Inga Gaile

National Book Festival, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, August 31, 2019.

Inga Gaile discusses "30 Questions People Don’t Ask: The Selected Poems of Inga Gaile" (Pleiades) with Indra Ekmanis. Introduced by: Artūrs Saburovs, Embassy of Latvia.

Crosspost: 30 years later, the human chain that 'unshackled' the Baltic nations still matters

Baltic Bulletin, Foreign Policy Research Institute, August 22, 2019.

The Baltic Way was part of the larger, overarching Baltic freedom movement called the Baltic Singing Revolution, where musical traditions of the region played a key role in reestablishing independence in 1991.

Analysis: (De)friending in the Baltics: Lessons from Facebook's Sputnik crackdown

Baltic Bulletin, Foreign Policy Research Institute, January 31, 2019.

In January, Facebook shut down more than 350 pages and accounts linked to Russian state-owned media tied to outlets across the Baltic states, Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Accruing audiences based on neutral topics, these pages and accounts also pushed coordinated Kremlin propaganda to around 800,000 unsuspecting followers. Despite being direct targets of Russian campaigns, Facebook lists no partner organizations in the FSU to help track fake news. This should changeas a hub in the region, the Baltics boast a broad pool of potential employees with significant language and cultural competency in the post-Soviet space. The Baltics are no strangers to Russia’s fake news assault, and they often prove better equipped to handle it than Americans.

Analysis: Latvia's Elections: The View from Afar

Baltic Bulletin, Foreign Policy Research Institute, October 22, 2018.

After the votes were tallied in Latvia’s October 6 parliamentary election, foreign news media headlines exclaimed that pro-Russia party Harmony dominated the 13th Saeima (parliament) elections. But the real story is in the shift toward something new.

Data: US voting results in 13. Saeima Latvian elections by polling place

Analyzed for: Latvia's Elections: The View from Afar Baltic Bulletin, Foreign Policy Research Institute, October 22, 2018.
13. Saeima elections//US votes

Op-ed: The Forest not the Trees: Hidden Successes of Latvian Integration

Baltic Bulletin, Foreign Policy Research Institute, July 27, 2018.

A pitfall of integration talk in media, politics and academic research, is a tendency to focus on points of difference. But in Latvia, the lines between Russian speakers and Latvians are constantly blurred in everyday experiences—even in some of the most Russian-speaking areas of the country.

Interview [video]: Is There a Common Baltic Cultural Identity?

Wilson Center NOW, interviewed by John Milewski, January 17, 2018.

Is there a common Baltic cultural identity? How have Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania dealt with integrating Russian-speaking communities within their societies? And what role do youth groups and education play in these initiatives? Wilson Center NOW spoke with the Kennan Institute’s Title VIII Research Scholar Indra Ekmanis about her efforts to identify and understand cultural identity in the region.

Op-ed: The Wrong Rubric: Social Connection, not Language, is Key to School Integration in Latvia

Baltic Bulletin, Foreign Policy Research Institute, December 20, 2017.

In a rural school in Latgale, breaks between classes are noisy with students joking, laughing, and playing. In class, they speak Latvian — in the hallways, Russian, too. More families are sending their children to the Latvian stream, even if they speak Russian at home. Even if they speak Russian at home, many families see it as a positive for their children to learn in Latvian. This unforced shift in the "most Russian" region is a clear example of ethnic school integration that’s working.

Op-ed: The Non-Citizen Non-Question: Latvia Struggles to Leave Soviet Legacy Behind

Baltic Bulletin, Foreign Policy Research Institute, October 18, 2017.

Twenty-five years after the Soviet Union collapsed, 52 newborns in Latvia became former citizens of a country that no longer exists. They are Latvia’s “non-citizens”—a stop-gap status that has become a chronic blight on Latvia’s post-Soviet democratization.

Brief: A universal good? Norm-driven priorities in European Space Policy

Carnegie Space Security Initiative, University of Washington, June 1, 2016.

The European Union is broadly considered to act as a normative power. Concern for the health and welfare of people and the planet extends to Europe’s approach to space. How does this translate into its engagement with space industry?

Ellison Center for Russian East European & Central Asian Studies Newsletter | Selected commentary:

‘More to do’: Grigas speaks on European energy security (May 2014)

Panel analyzes Euromaidan as events unfold (January 2014)

Singing across the Sea: UW Music Department strengthens ties to the Baltic (November 2013)