Open main menu

Estonian Restoration of Independence

Estonian Restoration of Independence (juridically defined as the Restoration of the Republic of Estonia) is celebrated on 20 August as on that day, in 1991 at 11:02 pm[1] local time, the Estonian Supreme Soviet, in agreement with the Estonian Committee (the executive organ of the Estonian Congress) proclaimed Estonian independence from the Soviet Union.[2] 20 August is a public holiday in Estonia.

The 1991 Soviet coup d'état attemptEdit

The August Coup or August Putsch took place on 19–22 August 1991 and was an attempt by members of the Soviet Union's government to take control of the country from the Soviet President and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.

19 August 1991Edit

As the coup attempt was taking place in Moscow and with that the military and political attention of the Soviet Union otherwise occupied, various republics of the Soviet Union took the opportunity to declare their independence. On the evening of 19 August, delegates from the Estonian Supreme Soviet and the Estonian Committee started negotiations to declare the independence of the Republic of Estonia. The main debate was a crucial one: should Estonia declare independence as a new Republic or continue with the juridical continuation of the Republic of Estonia established in 1918 and occupied in 1940.

20 August 1991Edit

21 August 1991Edit

On the morning of 21 August 1991, Soviet paratroopers were taking charge of the Tallinn’s TV tower, while the television broadcast was cut off for a while, the radio signal was strong as a handful of Estonian Defence League (the unified paramilitary armed forces of Estonia) members barricaded the entry into signal rooms.[4] By the afternoon of the same day it was clear that the coup in Moscow had failed and the paratroopers released the tower and left Estonia.[5]

See alsoEdit