The reestablishment of Estonian independence

to map

20. August 1991

In August 1991, the inner crisis in the Soviet Union reached its peak, when the reactionary forces organized a coup, in order to sustain the Soviet Union with all means necessary. Also, the Baltic states went into state emergency. On August 19, tanks started rolling towards the capital cities of the Baltic states to take over the prower, removing it from the hands of the national governments. Based on the agreements of different political powers, on the late evening of August 20, the Supreme Council of Estonia adapted the "Otsus Eesti riiklikust iseseisvusest", a document with which Estonia declared itself independent, de jure and de facto. At the same time, Estonia asked for international recognition. In Moscow, the coup had failed by August 21, which gave the Baltic states a real chance to execute their independence. First country to recognize the independence of Estonia, was Iceland, followed by up to 50 countries. By the beginning of September, also the Soviet Union had recognized the sovereignty of the Baltic states.

After the declaration of independence, Estonia had several radical reforms ahead: the country had to switch from socialistic planned economy to free market economy; democratic institutions had to be created, and much more. Estonia succeeded in all this relatively quickly, already in the summer of 1992, own currency, the kroon, was adapted, and the new constitution was approved and inured at the same autumn. That year also saw the election of Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu) and the first president, Lennart Meri.

Image source:

You have finished watching the story. You can play the story again or close it and choose new stories from story selection menu. You can watch up to three stories simultaneously

You can choose up to three stories, if you wish to change choosen stories, please uncheck previous selections

Choose stories



  • ajalooline
  • kirik
  • kivid
  • mõis
  • NB
  • nool
  • ring
  • sadam