Resilience provides a solid framework for many policy domains, including sustainable governance, safety, and national security. Likewise, deep divisions that characterise polarised societies are proven to undermine resilience, exposing populations to crises and consequences thereof.
This analysis explores the deviations along two principal characteristics associated with the most visible gaps in perceptions: ethnolinguistic background and political views that, in the context of Estonia, also form stable social groups with their own self-identities. The data collected illustrates that, regardless of the changing socio-political context in 2022-23, the perceptions of socio-economic threats and wellbeing in local Russian speakers differ significantly from those of ethnic Estonians. Since attitudes-based perceptions shape one’s reality, the perception of being disadvantaged can magnify the sense of insecurity, thereby fuelling uncertainty and diminishing hope – the prerequisites of a resilient society.
It, therefore, presents a significant challenge to all the stakeholders – i.e., politicians, policymakers, government officials, expert community, and opinion leaders – and warrants cohesion policies that aim at minimising the gaps in the resilience-related perceptions across the ethnolinguistic groups in Estonia. The solution necessitates both long-term comprehensive measures to promote inclusive advancement and some short-term practical instruments of integration. Openness, inclusiveness, and empathy in society – all these features nurture democratic resilience and demand we maintain a fine balance between the plurality of political views, public opinions, and social trends on the one hand, and variances of intragroup perceptions and ideological attitudes on the other hand.