Russians versus Russians in contemporary Russian-language Estonian literature


Keywords: Yelena Skulskaya, Andrei Ivanov, identity

Contemporary methodologies increasingly tend towards interdisciplinarity. In the social sciences, mass culture and literature are gaining attention as new sources of knowledge. Looking at literature through the lens of the new methodological frameworks allows for a more comprehensive study of identities and their evolution. This article applies a new methodology of studying the national identity, developed by Ted Hopf and Bentley Allan in the framework of the project Making Identity Count: Building a National Identity Database, which makes it possible to examine the emergence and persistence of the concept of “a Russian from Russia” as “the Other” in the identity discourse of the Russian-speaking population in Estonia after the restoration of Estonian independence. The first part of this article focuses on identifying the initial stages of the formation of this idea in Estonian Russian-language magazines that covered literature and social issues – Tallinn and Raduga. The second part analyzes the works of the two most popular and well-known Russian-speaking authors – Yelena Skulskaya and Andrei Ivanov. The analysis in complemented by interviews with the writers and references to the works of other Russian-speaking authors.


Elena Pavlova (b. 1975), PhD, University of Tartu, Faculty of Social Sciences, Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, Research Fellow (Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu), ­elena.pavlova@ut.ee