Marju Lauristin says that she lived on the idea of an independent Estonia for more than twenty years. After the opportunity state, the Estonians took action.
Fresh the southwest wind began to ease as the afternoon grew and the clouds gave way to the august sun on friday in the center of Tallinn. Blue-and-white flags fluttered on the flagpoles of the Old Town buildings. There was talk of a day off, but the men doing the roof renovations still waved on the ridge of the medieval building in life jackets and safety harnesses.
Despite the Corona period, there were enough tourists on the streets and terraces, but quite a bit compared to the former congestion. Russia was heard more often in the alleys than in Finland.
The light melodies of the Estonian strikes echoed from the stage erected next to the Parliament building. There was a concert of female artists for the holiday.
“Such a light program, no heavy threat,” the sociologist and former minister Marju Lauristin, 81, characterized the day on a park bench in Toompea. –
Estonia celebrated the 30th anniversary of its new independence on Friday. Laurist was on his way from the formal sitting of Parliament to the reception of the President, so there was a more formal program after all. The actual main party began on Friday night at seven on the Singing Stage, which was attended by 450 performers.
Tradition is binding. The Estonian independence movement was known in the late 1980s as the Singing Revolution.
Laurist was a key activist in that movement and later a demarche politician. Exactly thirty years ago, she was honored to draft the Estonian Declaration of Independence together with two other members of parliament. Laurist, Emke Party Too Much and a representative of the Estonian Congress Sirje Endre drafted the declaration within a few hours, and Lauristin read it to the Estonian Parliament.
“It wasn’t a declaration of independence, it was a practical program,” Lauristin corrects.
“We did not declare independence, as it had already been done in February 1918. We noted that Estonia’s independence had in fact been reformed and called on the foreign authorities to recognize the matter. Secondly, we said that Estonia needs a new constitution and a referendum will be held on it. Thirdly, we announced that elections to the new Parliament would have to be held during 1992. “
Declaration adopted on Friday, 20 August 1991 at 11.03 pm Of the 105 members of Parliament, the Supreme Council, 69 voted in favor of the declaration. Russian-speaking representatives marched out, four Soviet army representatives were denied the right to vote, and two representatives were absent for one reason or another.
Estonia quickly took advantage of the situation that arose when conservatives attempted a coup in Moscow and succeeded. However, those days lacked momentum and dangerous situations.
The weekend before the re-independence, Marju Lauristin, the Deputy Speaker of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Estonia, the then Parliament, was the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, the then Prime Minister. Edgar Savisaaren with Stockholm. The Baltic countries had regular contacts with Sweden and emigrants living in Sweden.
On Monday, August 19, 1991, another seminar was promised, but participation was canceled. Lauristin woke up at five in the morning in a Stockholm hotel room with a landline. The Swedish Foreign Ministry was advised to open the television. From there, it emerged that there was a coup going on in Moscow and a president Mikhail Gorbachev was ousted.
Savisaar decided to fly to Tallinn via Helsinki as the then Estonian Foreign Minister Lennart Meri was in Finland. Lauristin flew directly from Stockholm to Tallinn.
“When we landed in Tallinn, I saw a green uniform of soldiers everywhere,” Lauristin recalls.
“I thought they were throwing me straight into jail. But the car sending the President of Parliament came in and I was brought straight here to Toompea. ”
“For us, the coup attempt was the last chance to do it now or never, now. Legislative work had already been done for a year, and we had the feeling that this state would last. ”
“Second, the initiative came from everywhere, the people were behind it. And third, the declaration made it clear to the world that an attack by Soviet forces on Estonia would be an attack on an independent Estonia, not an internal matter of the Soviet Union. ”
The Estonian Congress was more nationalist than the Supreme Soviet. Congress was, in fact, set up to compete with a broader-based council. That is why Congress wanted to be involved in the realization of independence from the beginning. Lauristin further points out that the Estonian-speaking representatives did not oppose independence but only marched out.
“In a referendum last March, 77 per cent of the total population was in favor of independence. That meant that about 400,000 Russian-speakers, one hundred thousand, supported an independent Estonia. ”
Lauristinin according to the Russian-minded Inter movement, or “interns,” the attempt to attack the Estonian parliament in 1990 was a typical Moscow operation. According to him, this does not mean that there were no problems between Estonians and Estonian Russians.
“They both lived in their own worlds. The Creative Industries Associations held a meeting in 1988 to address the problem of immigration. This came as a complete surprise to the Russians, they had not thought of themselves as immigrants. ”
“Sillamäe was a completely closed uranium city, I visited it for the first time after Estonia became independent. And big apartment buildings and my own shops were built in Lasnamäki, and I never went there. ”
One however, the fact united both the Estonian and Russian populations of Northern Estonia: the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation.
“Yle’s broadcasts were an everyday evening school for democracy and capitalism for us,” Lauristin says.
Thus, Moscow’s peripheral hijacking plans may have worked in Abkhazia and Transnistria but not in Estonia.
“The majority of Russians would not have gone along with that. They watched the Finnish telly and wanted a K-store. And now that you watch Estonian television, the young men and women who perform there in Russian names speak very beautiful Estonia. ”
Lauristin admits to being a great friend of Finland, who is not surprised by the occasional inhorealist statements of Finnish politicians.
“The Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel is a great idea. It may not come true right away, but within 50 years. In the 20th century, there were many dreams of a state union between Finland and Estonia, not a federation. That kind of cooperation is needed. ”
Tuesday night On August 20, 1991, the Estonians pushed their slippers between the open door and became independent. History seems pretty haphazard, and it feels strange that someone might pre-believe in such a possibility.
But when did Lauristin begin to believe in Estonian independence?
“Yes, that idea was already born [vuosina] 1968–1969, ”says Lauristin. “After the defeat of the Prague Spring.”