Nation Remembers Day of Resistance
September 22 marks Estonia's Day of Resistance, when the country restated its independence from the two totalitarian powers that seized the Baltic states in the course of World War II.
Minister of Defense Mart Laar and representatives of university student organizations placed garlands at the foot of the War of Independence monument located in Tallinn's Freedom Square.
With the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact concluded between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany in 1939, its secret clauses divided Central and Eastern Europe into spheres of influence, leaving Estonia under the reign of the totalitarian socialist state. Two-years later, however, Nazi Germany launched an offensive against its Soviet ally, breaking the pact and occupying Estonia.
In the midst of the two countries' battle for power over the Baltics, the Red Army entered Estonia in 1944, forcing the Germans to retreat. Taking a chance in the chaos, Otto Tief's government attempted to restore Estonian independence and for a brief moment almost succeeded.
Nevertheless, the units of the Red Army captured Tallinn and the tricolor was once again replaced with the red Soviet flag.
"Tief and his ministers knew that they could face jail time in the cells of both the Gestapo and the Soviet secret police. But they believed in democracy and in the freedom of Estonia, and the belief that the country deserved a better future than a foreign occupation, helped them," the government said in a statement.
Members of Tief's government who stayed in Estonia after the Soviet takeover were arrested and sentenced to death or prison camps.