Global Estonian Report: August 23-30

Baltic Chain / Baltic Way in Tallinn on August 23, 1989
Baltic Chain / Baltic Way in Tallinn on August 23, 1989 Source: Raivo Tiikmaa / ERR

A roundup of Estonian news and events taking place around the world from August 23-30 inclusive.

Between 165,000 and 200,000 Estonians are estimated to live outside the country right now, accounting for some 15-20 percent of the total number of Estonians worldwide.

With many diaspora communities located throughout the world, 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 provide a weekly window into Estonian communities and culture from all over the globe.

Celebrating the Baltic Way and commemorating Black Ribbon Day

August 23 is a double anniversary for the three Baltic countries, a day of mourning and a day of pride – mourning because, on that day in 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, placing much of Eastern Europe under the Kremlin's control. However, it is also a day of pride because on August 23, 1989, ordinary Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians formed a human chain and demonstrated their yearning for freedom.

On August 23, 1989, approximately two million people formed a human chain spanning the Baltic nations from Tallinn through Riga to Vilnius – over 675 km – to draw the world's attention to the existence of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and demand an end to the Soviet occupation. The event has become known as the Baltic Way or Baltic Chain (Balti kett in Estonian). This protest was one of the earliest and longest unbroken human chains in history.

August 23 has become an official remembrance day, both in the Baltic countries, in the European Union and in other countries, and is known as Black Ribbon Day or the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism.

Black Ribbon Day commemoration events also take place in Estonian communities abroad including Toronto, Vancouver, and Stockholm.

Interesting stats since the restoration of Estonian independence

On August 20 this year, Estonia celebrated the 32nd anniversary of the restoration of independence in 1991. Statistics Estonia released a few interesting demographic statistics about Estonia since it restored its independence:

1. 33.4 percent of the population (455,877 people) are younger than re-independent Estonia.

2. 1991 was the year with the highest number of births in Estonia since re-independence (a total of 19,413).

3. In the 32 years since re-independence, the most common boys' name in Estonia is Martin (3,461) and the most common girls' name is Anna (3,227).

Register today and learn Estonian online at the Global School

Are you interested in improving your Estonian language skills or would you like to gain knowledge about Estonia's rich heritage? The Global Estonian School (Üleilmakool) offers you a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the Estonian-language learning environment, regardless of where you are.

Last year, students from more than 30 countries around the world took e-courses at the Global School and registration is now open for the 2023-24 academic year.

Registration is open until August 31!

The Global School celebrated its 10th anniversary this year and is supported by the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Upcoming Events

Night of Ancient Lights (August 26)

On 26 August, all Baltic Sea countries are celebrating the Night of Ancient Lights.

People enjoy an evening by the fireside and sing, as they have done on the last Saturday of August on the shores of the Baltic Sea for centuries.

How to find a job in Estonia (August 29, Tallinn)

Whether you're a student or a newcomer to Estonia, this seminar is designed to equip you with the necessary skills and insights to kick-start your career journey in Estonia. The free seminar will be conducted in English.

Organized by International House of Estonia.

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: Michael Cole

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