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Estonia is a small nation in the Northern Europe near the Baltic Sea. Its neighbours are Finland, Latvia, Russia and Sweden. It is a country that has not existed for a long time, although during its first 22 years it has become to be one of the most innovated countries in Europe. Everything can be done online, Skype was made by Estonians, now they are starting to teach children programming from the 1st grade. Public free WIFI is nearly everywhere. A truly inspiring area
Although historically this small nation has suffered a lot. Since the crusades, different large nations used Estonians as a slave nation for nearly 700 years. Firstly Estonia gained it independence in 1918, although it did not last for long, as the poor nation was occupied again bythe Soviets in 1939, then by the Nazis, and then by the Soviets again, Estonia lived through decades of terror. By the end of World War II, more than one-quarter of the population had been deported to Siberia, been executed, or had fled the country. Music sustained the Estonian people during those years, helping to maintain the Estonian language and sense of culture. It was such a crucial part of their struggle for freedom that their successful bid to re-establish their independence is known as the Singing Revolution.
By the late-1980’s, Mikhail Gorbachev’s attempts to salvage the empire by offering perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (free speech) were backfiring, as Estonians saw the new policies as an opportunity. The nation was simmering with unrest.
The Revolution started in the summer of 1987, when mass protests by the Estonian people began against Russian occupation of their country. In the June evenings of that year over 10,000 people a night packed the The Tallinn Song Festival Grounds, where they sang patriotic and national songs forbidden by the Soviet regime. These gatherings helped unite the Estonian people and ignited a renewed wave of passion for their national identity (which was being marginalised by aggressive Russification of the country), furthering the country's desire for freedom. In September of 1988, 300,000 Estonians gathered at the The Tallinn Song Festival Grounds to continue their protest and to hear the first public demand for independence being made
This was the heart of the “Singing Revolution”. The force of the human voice massed in song was the cultural catalyst that awoke, energized and united the nation of Estonia. It was a political and cultural statement that brought all Estonians together and gave them courage to rebel. After that there was no turning up. Three primary freedom movements, with radically different styles, worked both publicly and surreptitiously to push the Soviet system. A series of clever political maneuvers, combined with ever-growing singing demonstrations, overwhelmed a confused and failing Moscow.
Back in the Baltics, on 23rd August 1989, a vast and impressive demonstration was staged. 2 000 000 people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined hands along a 370 mile stretch of road between Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. This powerful and public statement against Russian rule was deliberately timed to to mark the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, in which Hitler and Stalin had seen fit to divide up Europe between them.
On August 19, 1991, a hard-line coup toppled Gorbachev’s government in Moscow, creating chaos - as well as opportunity. The Estonian Soviet parliament united with freedom activist groups and voted unanimously to re-establish Estonia’s independence, not knowing how the coup would be resolved or what the repercussions might be. During the vote, Estonian citizens gathered at the TV tower and radio stations to link arm-in-arm in front of tanks, risking their lives to protect their main source of communication with the outside world. On August 21, 1991 the nightmare of the Soviet Union was over; and Estonia emerged - once again - a free nation. When the army and the soviet politicians where marching out, the huge crowd simply formed a lane between them for the leaving parties and kept singing. Every other nation, who gained freedom had more violence, more blood spilt, except Estonians who just sang themselves free, peacefully