Books for a Minority: Russian-Langauge Publishing in Estonia
Books in the Russian language have been issued in Estonia since the beginning of the 19th century when Estonia was part of the Russian Empire, but a notable growth in the Russian-language publishing activities occurred during the Soviet occupation in 1944-1991. After Estonia became independent in 1991 the socio-political status of the Russian-speaking population (about 400 000 people or approximately one third of the population) changed completely - from the leading nation of the Soviet Union to a minority. The national policy of the independent Republic of Estonia is aimed at integration of the society by fostering knowledge of the Estonian language, but at the same time recognising the cultural rights of ethnic minorities, securing the cultural diversity. The bookshops in Estonia carry a relatively diverse choice of books in the Russian language, which are imported from Russia, but the Russian-speaking community also requires publications, which are published locally and are in accordance with their specific information needs. The paper studies the trends in the Russian-language book publishing (the statistics of title production, the structure of the production, the types of publishers active in the field etc.) and examines the demographic, political, cultural and economic factors, influencing the process and shaping its future development.
Keywords: Publishing Industry, Publishing for Minorities, Book Production, Estonia, Cultural Diversity
Associate Professor, The Department of Information Studies