Approaches to the Typology of European Small Countries (Case of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)

Approaches to the Typology of European Small Countries (Case of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)

Zverev Yu.M.,

Associate Professor of Geography, Nature management and Spatial Development, I. Kant Baltic Federal University,

elibrary_id: 77644 |

Mezhevich N.M.,

Doctor of Economics, Professor, Department of European Studies, St. Petersburg State University; President of the Russian Association of Baltic Studies,

elibrary_id: 210084 |

DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2019.05.13

For citation:

Zverev Yu.M., Mezhevich N.M. Approaches to the Typology of European Small Countries (Case of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania). – Polis. Political Studies. 2019. No. 5. P. 181-191. (In Russ.).

The study was performed at the Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation (Project No. 18-17-00112 “Ensuring the Economic Security of the Regions of the Western Frontier of Russia in the Conditions of Geopolitical Turbulence”).


Although established political scientists have been developing the statehood typology for a long time, this task has not yet been completely solved. While considering this problem, the authors used various methods of comparative studies. The paper solves two main research problems. The first was to identify the key characteristics of small European countries in terms of modern global, regional, political, and economic processes. In the framework of this task, the main directions for identifying small countries were considered using both quantitative and qualitative indicators. The second task was to show the similarities and differences between small countries and limitrophes (border states). In the course of the analysis, the authors prove that all limitrophes are small countries, but not all small countries are limitrophes. In contrast to merely being a ‘small country,’ a limitrophe is a political category, rather than economic or geographical. This, however, does not contradict the geographical or economic characteristic features of limitrophes. It was from these theoretical and methodological positions that Vadim Tsymbursky, the prominent political scientist, analyzed the problem. The problem of limitrophes is interdisciplinary. However, it is the methodological apparatus of political science that, to the authors, seemed to be optimal for disclosing the content of this scientific category. If a small state, from a political point of view, is an intermediate space between states or military and political alliances, and a limitrophe is a barrier, a ‘cordon sanitaire’ separating them. The authors consider the Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) to be the benchmark example of limitrophe states. 

small country, limitrophe state, ‘Baltic countries, comparative studies, typology of countries, theory of echelons of capitalism development.


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Content No. 5, 2019

See also:

Smirnov V.A.,
Theoretical and Methodological Aspects of Political Elites’ Institutionalization in the Baltic States. – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No5

Musikhin G.I.,
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Baev V.G., Marchenko A.N.,
In the footsteps of what we read: a small book on a big problem. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No1

Pantin V.I.,
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Political Atlas-2: World Crisis Megatrends. – Polis. Political Studies. 2009. No3



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