Politics of Uncertainty by Una Bergmane: Book Subvention Report

Mar 4, 2023

The Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (AABS) is pleased to recognized the successful conclusion of a Book Publication Subvention awarded to Oxford University Press for publishing the monograph Politics of Uncertainty: The United States, the Baltic Question, and the Collapse of the Soviet Union, by Una Bergmane.

Una Bergmane

©Una Bergmane, 2023

Una Bergmane, a native of Latvia, is Academy of Finland Research Fellow at the Aleksanteri Institute at Helsinki University and a Baltic Sea Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in the United States. Before joining the Aleksanteri Institute, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University, a teaching fellow at the London School of Economics, and a postdoctoral researcher at Helsinki University. She holds a Ph.D. from Sciences Po.

Thirty years after the Soviet collapse, this book aims to tackle the interplay between international and domestic dynamics in the Soviet disintegration process. Based on extensive archival research, it investigates the triangular relations between the US government, Baltic independence movements, and Moscow during the Perestroika years.

Occupied and illegally annexed by the USSR in 1940, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were the first Soviet republics to push the limits of Perestroika and demand independence from the Soviet Union. The Baltic problem, minor at first glance, started to gain more and more international visibility and by 1990 risked derailing issues that mattered in the eyes of both Soviet and American leaders—the transformation of the Soviet state and transformation of the European order. Both Washington and Moscow wanted to diffuse the Baltic crisis, but neither was certain how to do it.

The United States had never recognized the annexation of the Baltic states and thus tried to perform a highly challenging balancing act of supporting Baltic independence without jeopardizing relations with Kremlin. Meanwhile, Mikhail Gorbachev faced an increasingly pressing choice between democratization and preservation of the Soviet empire.

This book studies the relations between those at the top of international and domestic power hierarchies with those situated at their margins. It shows how at the time of deep historical change, the disruption of existing power structures causes uncertainty that limits the agency of the powerful and opens widows of opportunity for those seen as marginal.


The Impact of an Award: Report from Una Bergmane

In advance of the publication of Politics of Uncertainy,
Una Bergmane submitted the following to AABS.
We thank her for her permission to publish her thoughts here.


I am very grateful to AABS for supporting the publication of my book “Politics of Uncertainty: the United States, the Baltic Question and the Collapse of the Soviet Union.” The book will be published on March 10, 2023, and the AABS Book Publication Subvention allowed Oxford University Press to lower the price from $99 to $45 which makes the book much more accessible. I hope that the decrease in the price will help it to be read not only by the academic community but also by readers outside academia, especially in the Baltic states. The news about receiving the subvention in 2020 was not only very motivating for me personally, but also gave my work a visibility upon which I can now build further promotion of “Politics of Uncertainty.” I also would like to mention that AABS has contributed to the publication of this study not only through the Book Subvention but by supporting my research at earlier stages. Aina Birnitis Dissertation-Completion Fellowship, Mudīte I. Zīlīte Saltups Fellowship, and AABS Emerging Scholars Grant have allowed me to conduct crucial research in the American archives and finish my dissertation. Beyond financial assistance, AABS has also provided a framework for exchanges with Baltic Studies scholars worldwide. Studying the history of the Baltic states abroad can often be a  lonely experience and AABS yearly conferences in the United States and Europe have given me a much-needed sense of community and inspiration for further work, and I am very grateful for that.

– Una Bergmane

Politics of Uncertainy

Book cover of The Politics of Uncertainty, by Una Bergmane

What is the AABS Book Publication Subvention?

The AABS awards its Book Publication Subvention of up to $5,000 for individually authored books, edited volumes, and multiple-authored books in English that make a substantial scholarly contribution to Baltic Studies. The applications must be submitted by publishers, not authors. Priority will be given to single author’s first monographs.

AABS awards two Book Publication Subventions each year. Applications may be submitted for review anytime, on a rolling basis.

Oliver Aas: Dissertation Grant Report, “Figures of the Arctic in the Anthropocene”

AABS is pleased to recognize Oliver Aas for the completion of the grant associated with his dissertation "Figures of the Arctic in the Anthropocene," for which he received the AABS Dissertation Grant in the 2021-2022 cycle.©Oliver Aas, 2023 Oliver Aas is a PhD...

Other Grants and Fellowships News