Estonian history

Christmas traditions in Estonia

Christmas time is still the most important holiday celebrated in Estonia. For Estonians, Christmas is a mixture of the traditional, the modern, the secular and the religious.* Like in other Nordic countries, Estonia’s celebration of Christmas mostly falls on Christmas Eve; however, Christmas season starts from the first Advent with …

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Book review: Caught between Scylla and Charybdis – “Forest Brothers” by Geraint Roberts

The year is 1944. During the last half-decade, Estonia has been ravaged by the Soviets and the Nazis in almost equal measure. 10,000 people have been deported to a likely death in Siberia by the Soviets and another 10,000 have been killed in Nazi concentration camps. Now the Nazis are …

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Target: Estonia – Britain’s nuclear plan for Tallinn, Tartu and Viljandi

While Estonia was an unwilling member of the Soviet Union, from a military perspective it was a legitimate target in the event of a Soviet nuclear first-strike attack on the UK or its NATO allies. I will never forget the first time I saw a Vulcan bomber take-off. Standing next …

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TIMELINE: 23 years of Estonian success

Since March this year, the post-occupation independence of the Republic of Estonia has lasted longer than the independence before the occupation. As Estonia is celebrating its restoration of independence day on 20 August, we have created an exclusive interactive (scroll left and right) timeline which celebrates the successes of the …

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Estonia celebrates the traditional Victory Day

Võidupüha or Victory Day is an Estonian public holiday, which has been celebrated on 23 June every year since 1934 until 1939 — and then again after the restoration of Estonian independence from 1992. Victory Day recalls the decisive battle during the War of Independence in which the Estonian military forces and …

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Keeping the flag flying – Estonia’s diplomatic solo artists of the Cold War

Estonian diplomats in exile worked tirelessly to ensure that Estonia was not forgotten and that the Soviet occupation was reported accurately. The current London Diplomatic List weighs in at a hefty 142 pages. Listed within are the names and positions of every diplomatically accredited member of staff of all foreign …

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Tuhala Witch’s Well and ancient Estonian mythology

Tuhala Witches’ Well, located at the 3,000 years old settlement, represents an ancient Estonian folk tale. Estonia has experienced a variety of belief systems over the centuries, from Catholicism to Lutheranism to Russian Orthodoxy and Soviet atheism. Twenty two years after regaining independence from the Soviet Union, Estonia is one …

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27 years after prank call to Soviet Union, American and Estonian cross paths

People like to talk about how small Estonia is, but a recent coincidence testifies to the adage that it’s a small world as well. In 1986, two bored college freshmen in Berkeley managed to breach the Iron Curtain by randomly dialing a Soviet Union telephone number. Twenty-seven years later, the …

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