Estonia

Asserting cultural identity en masse to express opposition to an oppressive regime

In June of 1988, hundreds of thousands of Estonians (by some estimates, as many as 300,000, or one-third of the Estonian population) gathered for five consecutive nights in the capital city of Tallinn to sing forbidden or politi­cally risky folk songs. Similar festivals were held that summer in Latvia and Lithuania. This “Singing Revolution,” as it became known, was an important step toward the independence of all three Baltic states from the Soviet Union in August 1991.

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