The article provides a theoretical analysis of political elites in small states. The author uses comparative analysis and descriptive approach to demonstrate main challenges that small countries ruling class is facing. The article states that regardless of widespread use of small state concept in political science and international relations theory its definition is still essentially contested. The author elaborates on the quantitative and qualitative approached to the given notion. The conclusion is that small states are not a “small copy” of great powers, and their foreign policy actions are driven by a specific and unique logic.
The paper deals with the range of problems regarding the relation between decisions of political elite in small states and their striving for occupying a certain niche in external (foreign) political environment. The typology of such niches is proposed. The article deals with economic, military, political, and ideological dimensions of political elites’ decisions in the Baltic states. The article makes the case of the following hypothesis: the exploitation of the “Russian threat” concept by political elites of the Baltic states is aimed at occupying a special niche within the Euro-Atlantic community. The narrow corridor for political maneuver imposed by strategic imperatives of NATO induces political elites of the Baltic states to attract attention of powerful states, which brings resources, nances and more prominent status.