Global Estonian Report: June 9 – 16

Caption: Youth volunteers helping to assemble the 'Sea of Tears' memorial installation for the June 1941 deportation at Freedom Square in Tallinn (June 14 2019).
Caption: Youth volunteers helping to assemble the 'Sea of Tears' memorial installation for the June 1941 deportation at Freedom Square in Tallinn (June 14 2019). Source: Estonian Institute of Human Rights

Between 165,000 and 200,000 Estonians are estimated to live outside the country right now, making around 15-20 percent of the total number of Estonians. With many communities being found worldwide, both in English-speaking countries and beyond, ERR News, in conjunction with the Integration Foundation (Integratsiooni Sihtasutus), has launched a weekly Global Estonian Report, which will give a weekly window into Estonian communities and culture from around the globe.

Estonians around the world to commemorate 80th anniversary of June 1941 deportation

Every year, Estonia commemorates the anniversary of the June 1941 Soviet deportation with a national day of mourning on June 14.

On June 14, 1941, and the following two days, over 10,000 people (including entire families, over 5,000 women, and over 2,500 children under the age of 16) were rounded up and packed into railroad cattle cars without trial or prior announcement by the Soviet secret police and deported to Siberia and other hinterlands in the Soviet Union. Only 4,331 persons returned to Estonia. Similar deportations occurred simultaneously in the other Baltic states.

Fearing further deportations, reprisals and the terror of the first Soviet occupation, the June 1941 deportation motivated a major wave of refugees to leave Estonia, mostly by ships over the Baltic Sea in late 1944 when the Soviets reoccupied Estonia.

The approximately 80,000 people who left Estonia in late 1944 went on to form global Estonian communities around the world primarily in Sweden, the USA, Canada, Australia, and Great Britian. Many of these Estonian communities and others around the world will be commemorating the 80th anniversary of the June 1941 deportation with online and other events.

Registration is open for Estonian e-courses at the Global School

Registration for e-courses at the Global School (Üleilmakool) are now open for the 2021-22 academic year.

The Global School of the Association of Education in Estonian provides Estonian children living outside Estonia with the opportunity to take e-courses, and is in charge of developing e-basic school (lower-secondary education).

Estonian language studies for third-country nationals

The Integration Foundation is offering free Estonian language studies to third-country nationals* who want to master the language at the B1 level and develop their communication skills. Third-country nationals are foreigners who are citizens of any country that is not a member state of the European Union or the European Economic Area or Switzerland.

Join the Global Estonian Business Network

The Global Estonian Business Network brings together business-focused Estonians around the world who can support each other in their global business endeavors and who have an interest in contributing with their professional skills and knowledge to the success of Estonian exports and the Estonian economy.

The Global Estonian Business Network is an initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Public Sector Innovation Team.

Listen to the World Estonian View ("Hajala ringvaade") podcast

Vikerraadio's morning program "Hajala ringvaade" (World Estonian View) offers an insight into the lives and experiences of Estonians and Estonian commmunities abroad.

Tune into Vikerraadio on Estonian Public Broadcasting (ERR) every Sunday morning for "Hajala ringvaade". Host Maarja Merivoo-Parro discusses and talks with Estonians around the world. (in Estonian).

Upcoming Events

Estonian Worldwide Youth Network: Virtual Days 2021  (June 12, online)

The Estonian Worldwide Youth Network (Ülemaailmne Eesti Noortevõrgustik or ÜENV) is inviting all active Estonian youth aged 14-35 to participate at the Virtual Days 2021 event.

Movie: "Risttuules" -  In the Crosswind (June 14, online)

In the Crosswind (Estonian: Risttuules) is an award-winining 2014 Estonian drama film directed by Martti Helde. The film is about the forced deportation by Stalin's Russia of an Estonian family to Siberia in the June deportation. It is based on a real-life diary from the period.

"Wagon of Tears" installation at Tallinn Freedom Square (June 14, Tallinn)

An installation titled "Wagon of Tears" (Pisarate vagun) commemorating the victims of the June deportation of 1941 will be set up in Tallinn's Freedom Square on June 14th.

The wagon, placed facing east on a section of rail track, symbolizes one of the 490 wagons used in the 1941 deportation, and is filled with blue balloons symbolizing the "tears of the deportees," the Estonian Institute of Human Rights said.

The Day of Mourning and Hope: the Living Memory of Soviet Deportees of the Baltic States (June 14, online)

To commemorate the June 1941 deportations, The Embassies of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in Washington, D.C. invite you to a virtual discussion "The Day of Mourning and Hope: the Living Memory of Soviet Deportees and Displaced Persons of the Baltic States."

Toronto candle lighting for the victims of the June 1941 Soviet deportations (June 14, Toronto and online)

The Baltic communities in Canada will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Soviet deportations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on June 14, 1941 and will honor the tens of thousands of victims - mostly women and children - with a candle lighting commemoration at Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square at 7pm, June 14, 2021.

What is Global Estonian?

Global Estonian is an online portal, in Estonian and English, and network for Estonians and friends of Estonians around the world.

Managed by the Integration Foundation, Global Estonian brings together news, events, culture, organizations, support programs, learning opportunities, and a wealth of other information from Estonian communities abroad, all in one central gateway.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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