25 years ago, on 20 August 1991, the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia adopted the Resolution on the National Independence of Estonia. The state that had been proclaimed on 24 February 1918 was restored. Estonia gained international recognition and rejoined the global family of independent states.
1991 in Estonia
12 January – Treaty on the Principles of the Interstate Relations between the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic and the Republic of Estonia, in which the sovereignty of both countries was mutually recognised, was signed in Moscow.
13 January – Soviet Army troops and KGB special unit Alfa conquered the TV Tower and the Press House in Vilnius. 14 people were killed, hundreds were wounded.
13 January – Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian SFSR Boris Yeltsin met with the leaders of the Baltic States in Tallinn to discuss the tragic events in Vilnius. A joint statement on the mutual recognition of each other’s national sovereignty was made. Boris Yeltsin called on the Russian soldiers not to use arms.
13 January – The Presidium of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia formed the Emergency Defence Council of the Republic of Estonia; members of the Council were Arnold Rüütel (Chairman), Edgar Savisaar and Ülo Nugis. Marju Lauristin and Lepo Sumera were given the authority to be heads of the government in exile, if necessary.
14 January – Meeting of solidarity with the people of Lithuania at the Freedom Square in Tallinn
15 January – Meetings of the Intermovement and strike committee in Tallinn at Toompea, in Tartu, Narva, Kohtla-Järve and other cities. The resignation of the Supreme Council and the Government was demanded.
17 January – Strike at the enterprises in the area of government of the all-Union ministries began in Tallinn, establishing of the direct authority of the President of the Soviet Union over Estonia was demanded.
18 January – First barricades in defence of Toompea were constructed.
20 January – OMON attacked the Ministry of the Interior in Riga, Latvia. 4 people were killed and 10 wounded.
25 January – The United States Congress passed a resolution expressing support for the independence of the Baltic States.
25–27 January – Meeting of the Government of the Republic of Estonia in exile, the members of the Legal Affairs Committee and the National defence Committee of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia and the representatives of the Committee of Estonia (Congress of Estonia) was held in the Estonian House in Stockholm, where the legal and political problems connected with the restoration of the independence of Estonia and the possibilities for cooperation were discussed.
31 January – The Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia decided to avert the all-Union referendum on the preservation of the Soviet Union and to hold a referendum on 3 March 1991. The question put to the referendum was: “Do you want the restoration of the national independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Estonia?”
9 February – Independence referendum was held in Lithuania, 90.5% of voters were in favour.
11 February – Administrative Reform Committee of the Government of the Republic of Estonia was established.
16 February – First 100 junior police officers graduated from Paikuse Police School.
21 February – Prime Minister of Iceland Steingrímur Hermannsson and Prime Minister of Estonia Edgar Savisaar signed the statement according to which Iceland became a mediator in the negotiations between the Soviet Union and the Baltic states.
24 February – Anniversary of the Republic of Estonia was celebrated nationally again in Estonia. A flag hoisting ceremony was held at Toompea and a festive meeting was held in the Estonia Concert Hall. A ceremony to commemorate Konstantin Päts was held at Metsakalmistu. A modest parade was held at Remniku Training Centre, organised by head of the training centre Johan Saar.
26 February – 1 March – Annual session of the Nordic Council was held in Copenhagen, with participation by leaders of the Baltic countries.
Polls in the newspaper “Esmaspäev”, February-March 1991.
1 March – The Police Act of Estonia entered into force, the militia was replaced by the police.
3 March – Independence referendums were held in Estonia and Latvia (Eesti Vabariigi Ülemnõukogu avaldus; Tulemuste kinnitamine). In Estonia, 82.86% of eligible voters participated in the referendum and 77.83% of them supported the restoration of the national independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Estonia. In Latvia, 87.56% of eligible voters participated in the referendum and 73.68% of them voted for independence.
11 March – The Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia passed the resolution that Estonia will not participate in the referendum of the Soviet Union on 17 March.
11 March – In Copenhagen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia Lennart Meri and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark Uffe Ellemann-Jensen signed an agreement, according to which diplomatic relations were to be established as soon as the situation permits.
16 March – 4th Session of the Congress of Estonia. The Congress decided to start issuing the identity documents of the citizen of the Republic of Estonia.
22 March – Members of the Council of Baltic States (Arnold Rüütel, Anatolijs Gorbunovs, Vytautas Landsbergis) met in Jūrmala to apply for organising an international conference to resolve the Baltic crisis. Appeal to the participating states of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe was adopted.
27 March – The Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia established the Monetary Reform Committee.
29 March – Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia Arnold Rüütel and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia Lennart Meri met with President of the USA George Bush in Washington.
29 and 31 March – Good Friday and Easter were celebrated again.
8 April – National Border Defence Board was established by a Regulation of the Government.
11 April – Committee of Estonia submitted an offer for cooperation to the Popular Front of Estonia to form a representative assembly for the transition period to replace the Supreme Council and the Committee of Estonia.
13–14 April – Third Congress of the Popular Front was held in Tallinn, where the Resolution “The Preconditions for Ending the Transition Period” was adopted and the statement “On the Unity of Independence Forces” was made.
15 April – Meeting of the delegations of Estonia and the Soviet Union, where the time schedule and subjects of negotiations and the composition of working groups was laid down. Ülo Nugis was the head of the Estonian delegation.
15 April – Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia passed the Pensions Act.
25 April – Estonian group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) was formed by a resolution of the Supreme Council of Estonia.
Remembering the everyday life – prices established by the Government.
7–8 May – Prime Minister of Estonia Edgar Savisaar, Prime Minister of Latvia Ivars Godmanis and Chairman of the Supreme Council of Lithuania Vytautas Landsbergis met with President of the United States George Bush, U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and members of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe in Washington.
8 May – the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia passed a decision on publishing the concept of the Principles of Ownership Reform Act for public discussion in newspapers Rahva Hääl and Sovetskaya Estonia. It appeared in newspapers on 15 May.
9 May – a blasting charge exploded under the bas-relief of the monument of President Konstantin Päts in Tahkuranna.
19 and 21 May – special militia units of the Soviet Union attacked the border control points of Luhamaa and Murati
The Council of the Baltic States adopted an address to the parliaments, governments and people of the countries of the world in connection with the attacks against the border control points.
4 June – Luhamaa border control point was attacked.
13 June – Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia passed the Principles of Ownership Reform Act in order to return unlawfully expropriated property to its legal owners.
14 June – special militia units of the Soviet Union attacked Ikla border control point.
18 June – 28 members of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia submitted a request for the release of Edgar Savisaar from the office of the Head of the Government. It was decided to discuss the request in autumn. The government crisis was widely discussed in the press. PDF (1,48 kiB)
19 June – Estonian National Culture Foundation was established on the initiative of Eri Klas.
1 July – Government Regulation on Developing Market Relations in Agriculture entered into force (adopted on 14 June 1991). It became the basis for transition to freely forming prices of food products (except for whole milk, buttermilk and curds).
1–7 July – International song festival Bridges of Song was held in Tallinn. Besides musicians, well-known cultural figures, economists and politicians also had meetings. At the economic conference “East-West Economic Relations”, American political scientist and statesman Zbigniew Brzezinski delivered a speech.
9 July – Explosion in the house of the National Border Defence Board and Home Defence Guard at Toompea in Tallinn.
15 July – By a Government Regulation, National Customs and Border Defence Board of the Republic of Estonia in the area of government of the Minister of State was formed on the basis of the National Customs Board of the Republic of Estonia and the National Border Defence Board of the Republic of Estonia.
23 July – Local government councils of Narva, Kohtla-Järve and Sillamäe submitted a memorandum requesting special status to North-East Estonia in the Republic of Estonia.
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