1991—Estonia Once Again Independent

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Estonia regained its independence in 1991, which came after a three-year political awakening and the blossoming of self-awareness among Estonians that included protests against the establishment of the Soviet Union’s phosphorite mines in Estonia, the singing of patriotic songs at popular folk events, exploring the market economy, and a public debate on the revival of the idea of statehood.

The Baltic Chain, National Archives of Estonia

On August 23, 1989, a mass demonstration was held in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania aimed at showing the world the unfairness of the occupation of the Baltic states by the Soviet Union and the will to restore independence.

The Baltic Chainthe longest unbroken human chain in history. Approximately 2 million people joined handsA human chain united three states, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and spanned 600 kilometres, or 430 miles.

The beginning of 1991 was an anxious time, uncertainty prevailed among the people, prices for all goods rose, the future was unclear, it was not certain that things were going to be better. National pride and determination helped cope with the anxiety, and finally, the knowledge that the nation made the right choice.

During the 1990s, the Estonian state only became stronger. Estonia adopted its own currency, enjoyed an economic boom, living standards improved, and in the following decade, the country joined the EU and NATO.

Today, the country has quickly developed into an “e-state,” where everything from the signing of documents to voting takes place digitally. Estonia is also visible in the business world, where the small country hosts more startups than anywhere else.

How young people perceive today’s Estonia

In a 2017, drawing project, young people depicted recent history in Estonia.

Free Estonia and Second Independence Day.

Emma Henelin Mandli

The picture depicts a typical Estonian citizen. In one hand, there are Estonian crowns, in the other euros, and the person lost in thought. At that time, thoughts were not only about how much one crown is worth in euros, but also how to reckon with the fact that we have a new currency, how to convert it, how much to save, how much to spend, whether prices will rise, whether wages will remain the same … Many issues tormented people and no one knew what was ahead.

Karolina Nazaruk

In the picture, European Flags or A United Europe.

Sten Roos

The Baltic chain symbolized Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania’s pursuit of freedom. This event brought worldwide attention.


Vitalina Vinagradova