Tallinn, Estonia

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the official independence of Estonia, declared during the failed coup that led to the break-up of the Soviet Union. Estonia and northern Latvia became part of the Swedish Empire during the Middle Ages, but were ceded to Russia during the wars of the early 18th century.

The three Baltic Republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were occupied by Russia, and enjoyed a brief period of independence after World War I. World War II saw first German an invasion by Germany, followed by reoccupation and annexation by the Soviet Union, an annexation which was not recognized by the West.

Beginning in 1987, even before the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Estonia agitated for independence in the “Singing Revolution”. Independence was formally declared on August 20, 1991. In 1990 when ferry links via Estline were established between Stockholm and Tallinn. The first time I traveled to Tallinn, for a week of reportage with Radio Sweden shortly after independence, they hadn’t had time to replace the immigration controls, and my passport was stamped CCCP (USSR).

 

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