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Estonia in the crucible of Soviet political reform Lohuaru, Peter 1989

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ESTONIA I N THE CRUCIBLE OF SOVIET POLITICAL REFORM by PETER LOHUARU B.A., Simon Fraser University, 1986 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Political Science) We accept this thesis as conforming hn fho required standard UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September 1989 © Peter Lohuaru, 1989 National Library Bibliotheque nationale of Canada du Canada Canadian Theses Service Service des theses canadiennes Ottawa, Canada K1A 0N4 The author has granted an irrevocable non-exclusive licence allowing the National Library of Canada to reproduce, loan, distribute or sell copies of his/her thesis by any means and in any form or format, making this thesis available to interested persons. L'auteur a accorde une licence irrevocable et non exclusive permettant a la Bibliotheque nationale du Canada de reproduire, pr§ter, distribuer ou vendre des copies de sa these de quelque maniere et sous quelque forme que ce soit pour mettre des exemplaires de cette these a la disposition des personnes interessees. The author retains ownership of the copyright in his/her thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without his/her per-mission. L'auteur conserve la propriete du droit d'auteur qui protege sa these. Ni la these ni des extraits substantiels de celle-ci ne doivent §tre imprimes ou autrement reproduits sans son autorisation. ISBN 0-315-55822-9 Canada In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. (Signature) Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date dcT. H / f ? f DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT Estonia's rise to prominence on the leading edge of the Soviet reform process is a consequence of the republic's dual position as an economic role model for other republics and a Soviet exception in terms of lifestyle and cultural orientation. While Estonia's open acceptance of perestroika is clearly a boost for Soviet reformers, the Estonian vision of reform is distinctly different from the direction intended by Moscow. In its capacity as reform leader and radical pioneer, Estonia is a microcosm of the Soviet political economy and the elements that plague attempts to reform the system. An examination of Estonia's role within the Soviet reform movement provides a view of the potentially explosive cultural processes that have now surfaced not only in the Baltic but throughout the Soviet Union. Chapter One presents a descriptive chronological overview of the events that preceded Estonia's Declaration of Sovereignty in November 1988. Chapter Two is analytical in nature and provides a cultural context and background with which to assess Estonian developments. The methodological framework is adapted from Archie Brown's "Political Culture and Communist Studies" and gives a qualitative description of the intensity and psychological power of the cultural factor in Estonian politics. Chapter Three presents Moscow's reaction to Baltic initiatives and describes Gorbachev's attempt to forge a new nationalities policy in the face of deep-rooted conservative opposition. Estonia is a prime example of the seemingly insoluble nationality problems associated with Soviet political reform. In terms of quantitative indicators, Estonia is the most economically successful republic within the Soviet political experiment, and yet it is also the most vociferous in voicing rejection of fundamental Soviet political values. Although the Soviet future remains unpredictable, there are strong indicators that Estonia and the Baltic republics will continue to expand the perimeters of reform at a pace and in a manner that can now only be curtailed by armed force. However, the potential consequences of Baltic initiatives will not remain confined only to Soviet domestic politics. Whether the Soviet Union becomes a benign Commonwealth or Confederacy, or rapidly decays or disintegrates, or regresses into authoritarianism and civil war, the result will have profound consequences for Europe and the rest of the world. Therefore, the importance of Estonia and the other Baltic republics in the process of Soviet decline cannot be underestimated; the Baltic States, although insignificant by global standards, have set an example for other Soviet republics and national groups to follow and will for the near term remain political barometers of the Soviet future. iV TABLE OF CONTENTS Page INTRODUCTION: ESTONIA'S PLACE IN THE SOVIET REFORM PROCESS 1 CHAPTER ONE: ESTONIAN POLITICS 1986-2988 9 I. (A) PARTY POLITICS BEFORE 1988 . . . . . 10 (B) ECOLOGICAL POLITICS 13 (C) GLASNOST AND CENSORSHIP 18 II. 1988: THE EFFECTS OF GLASNOST 24 (A) THE CULTURAL UNIONS 27 (B) THE POPULAR FRONT MOVEMENT . 31 III. INDEPENDENT ALTERNATIVE GROUPS 37 (A) THE ESTONIAN HERITAGE SOCIETY (EHS) 37 (B) ESTONIAN NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE PARTY 40 (C) ESTONIAN INDEPENDENT YOUTH FORUM (EIYF) . . . . 49 (D) THE ESTONIAN GREENS MOVEMENT (EGM) 51 (E) INTERNATIONALIST MOVEMENT (IM) 55 (F) CONCLUSIONS 58 IV. PARTY POLITICS - SEPTEMBER 1988 63V. THE POPULAR FRONT CONGRESS - OCTOBER 1-2, 1988 . . . 70 VI. ESTONIAN SOVEREIGNTY AND THE SOVIET CONSTITUTIONAL IMPASSE 73 VII. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 85 CHAPTER TWO: 1989: TOWARD A NEW POLITICAL CULTURE . . . 90 POLITICAL CULTURE: DEFINITION AND ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK . 94 I. ESTONIA'S PREVIOUS POLITICAL EXPERIENCE 97 Political Undercurrents From History . . . 104 II. VALUES AND BELIEFS 113 III. FOCI OF IDENTIFICATION AND LOYALTY 127 IV. POLITICAL KNOWLEDGE AND POLITICAL EXPECTATIONS . . . 14 3 (A) POLITICAL KNOWLEDGE 143 (B) POLITICAL EXPECTATIONS 149 V. CONCLUSIONS 153 V CHAPTER THREE: THE VIEW FROM MOSCOW — THE LIMITS OF TOLERANCE 170 I. (A) TOWARD A NEW NATIONALITIES POLICY 173 (B) THE NATIONALITY QUESTION AMONG THE PARTY LEADERSHIP 177 II. THE NEW PARTY PLATFORM 184 III. PROSPECTS FOR SUCCESS 186 (A) POLITICAL SOVEREIGNTY 187 (B) ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE 187 (C) CULTURAL AUTONOMY AND CITIZENSHIP 191 IV. THE LIMITS OF TOLERANCE 192 CONCLUSIONS 197 BIBLIOGRAPHY 206 APPENDIX 208 Vi LIST OF TABLES Table I. Table II Table III . . 122 . . 123 . . 124 1 INTRODOCTION ESTONIA'S PLACE IN THE SOVIET REFORM PROCESS Within the short space of time since 1985, Gorbachev has changed the internal workings of the Soviet Union in ways unimaginable just a short time ago. Despite problems and setbacks, the Soviet Union of 1989 is far different from that of the recent past. Gorbachev's reform proposals are not only bold; they are, in most respects, revolutionary in relation to what existed previously in Soviet political life. An active legislature with substantial powers, uncensored debate, and a limit on terms of political office are tentative advances in political culture directly contrary to the lawlessness and corruption of past decades. Indeed, Gorbachev's performance in office has eliminated much skepticism over his sincerity. The open questions now are: To what extent will he be successful?; Are radical changes possible without great upheaval and violence? The risks and obstacles to Soviet political reforms are enormous and spring from deep-rooted social processes in Soviet society that defy simple definition or solution. The barriers to political evolution fall into three categories: a conservative political culture, an ossified and immobile economic and political infrastructure, and the strength of nationalism among the many non-Russian minorities of the Soviet Union. 2 In t e r m s of a " S o v i e t " p o l i t i c a l c u l t u r e , authoritarianism at the top of the Soviet political ladder is mirrored by a conservative deference to higher authority at the bottom. This "top-down" political attitude has remained embedded in Soviet society since Czarist times. After decades of political acquiescence and sham egalitarianism, the Soviet polity is highly resistant to new concepts and devoid of ideas of individual social responsibility. Gorbachev's revolution from-the-top can succeed only if perestroika becomes a cultural revolution that will change the thinking and behaviour of ordinary Soviet people. With respect to the Soviet economic and political infrastructure, Gorbachev faces solid resistance to change from party functionaries and state bureaucrats intent on retaining the political influence and social privileges that traditionally accompany success in Soviet political careers. The members of the upper and middle levels of the Soviet government infrastructure represent powerful coalitions of political and economic interests that control the flow of Soviet labour, raw materials, and finished goods. They are in a state of civil war with reform-minded sectors over the future of Soviet economic modernization. Gorbachev's reform process is an attempt to overcome1 centralized economic and political feudalism and to democratize, virtually overnight, a social system that is mired in the vestiges of the Russian and Soviet past. 3 In terms of ethnic identity, the Soviet Union is not a nation-state so much as a "state of nations." More than a hundred nations and nationalities lie within its borders with all the attendant cultural influences that keep peoples apart from each other: race, history, language, religion. After seven decades of Communist rule, no unifying national ideology or political credo exists that is capable of garnering the loyalties of various Soviet peoples enough to counteract the rise of separate and competing nationalisms. Paradoxically, the technology which makes possible the attempt to assimilate cultures through a common linguistic and economic environment also creates the conditions that promote cultural diversity. The unintended side-effects of increased availability of information and high literacy rates are rising social expectations and a greater sense of cultural cohesion among non-Russian Soviet peoples. Soviet nationalities policy has successfully permitted the development of a national consciousness among Soviet nations while keeping a tight rein on political aspirations; however, the regime's attempt to eventually eliminate nationalist political aspirations and promote the fusion of diverse cultures into a new "Soviet People" is a resounding failure. In this respect, the Soviet Union of today is basically unchanged from pre-revolutionary Russia, where national differences clearly prevailed over conformity to a unifying political ideal. 4 For Gorbachev, the problem is how to promote perestroika among different cultures each of whom will interpret, absorb, and digest reform on their own terms and in their own time. For Soviet Islamic peoples, perestroika represents a western-oriented assault against their local hierarchies of power and traditional way of life. For Armenians and Azerbaijanis, perestroika and glasnost provide fresh opportunities to settle old scores with each other. For groups of ethnic Russians, such as the xenophobic members of "Pamyat", perestroika is a last chance to save Russian culture from pollution by outsiders. For the Baltic republics, perestroika means political and economic emancipation from the centralized control of Moscow. After decades of frustration, the Baits have welcomed perestroika much more rapidly than Soviet authorities anticipated, and Gorbachev now faces a fundamental political challenge: whether to permit a rapid evolution of Baltic autonomy and risk a conservative backlash in Moscow or put concrete limits on reform and risk losing credibility among supporters. In November 1988, the Soviet Republic of Estonia made headlines with its Declaration of Sovereignty. Despite periodic censure from Moscow, the reform process in the Baltic is now a deep-rooted phenomenon with a relatively open press and a plurality of political views and movements groping their way toward parliamentary democracy. Among the public there is also a sense of urgency. It is believed that time is short 5 and the reform process should move ahead quickly so as to become structurally irreversible in the event that Gorbachev should fall from power. During the interwar period of 1919-1939, the Baltic Republics were independent nation-states and still have a strong case under international law for rejecting Soviet claims to the area. Their quick acceptance of perestroika and glasnost is strongly influenced by the memory of a parliamentary past and the democratic political culture that evolved during the brief period of independence. Of all the fundamental problems that ail the Soviet system, the most urgent and dangerous is the area of ethnic relations. The resolution of ethnic strife, according to Gorbachev, will prove to be the "decisive" factor that determines if Soviet reforms are to be successful. With the exception of a handful of scholars, the significance of Soviet nationality relations as a factor in Soviet domestic politics has traditionally been discounted by Western sovietologists. Recent events have shown that there is much more variety and diversity of political experience within the Soviet Union than our western images have allowed; the importance of the cultural factor as a determinant in Soviet politics has been seriously underestimated in our analyses. The purpose of this thesis is to analyse the gravity and complexity of Soviet nationality problems by examining the political problems of one Soviet ethnic group. By looking at a single Soviet national group we can narrow the area of enquiry and still 6 draw conclusions that express the overall nature of Soviet nationality problems. The central conclusion of this thesis is that, out of the array of difficult problems that face the Soviet Union today, the nationalities question is dominant. The resolution of all other Soviet social, political and economic problems depends on the outcome of the nationalities question. The paradox of the situation is that while Moscow cannot satisfy nationalist demands without dismemberment of the Soviet Union, neither can Soviet political reforms be successful without significant concessions to nationalist demands. Without the voluntary co-operation of the Soviet nationalities, resolution of the systemic crisis that today confronts the Soviet Union will be impossible. Estonia's rise to prominence on the leading edge of the Soviet reform process is a consequence of the republic's dual position as an economic role model for other republics and a Soviet exception in terms of lifestyle and cultural orientation. While Estonia's open acceptance of perestroika is clearly a boost for Soviet reformers, the Estonian vision of reform is distinctly different from the direction intended by Moscow. In its capacity as reform leader and radical pioneer, Estonia is a microcosm of the Soviet political economy and the elements that plague attempts to reform the system. An examination of Estonia's role within the Soviet reform movement provides a view of the potentially explosive 7 cultural processes that have now surfaced not only in the Baltic but throughout the Soviet Union. Chapter One presents a descriptive chronological overview of the events that preceded Estonia's Declaration of Sovereignty in November 1988. Chapter Two is analytical in nature and provides a cultural context and background with which to assess Estonian developments. The methodological framework is adapted from Archie Brown's "Political Culture and Communist Studies" and gives a qualitative description of the intensity and psychological power of the cultural factor in Estonian politics. Chapter Three presents Moscow's reaction to Baltic initiatives and describes Gorbachev's attempt to forge a new nationalities policy in the face of deep-rooted conservative opposition. Estonia is a prime example of the seemingly insoluble nationality problems associated with Soviet political reform. In terms of quantitative indicators, Estonia is the most economically successful republic within the Soviet political experiment, and yet it is also the most vociferous in voicing rejection of fundamental Soviet political values. Although the Soviet future remains unpredictable, there are strong indicators that Estonia and the Baltic republics will continue to expand the perimeters of reform at a pace and in a manner that can now only be curtailed by armed force. However, the potential consequences of Baltic initiatives will not remain confined only to Soviet domestic politics. Whether 8 the S o v i e t Union becomes a benign Commonwealth or C o n f e d e r a c y , or r a p i d l y d e c a y s or d i s i n t e g r a t e s , or r e g r e s s e s i n t o a u t h o r i t a r i a n i s m and c i v i l war, the r e s u l t w i l l have profound consequences for Europe and the r e s t of the world. T h e r e f o r e , the importance of E s t o n i a and the other B a l t i c r e p u b l i c s i n the p r o c e s s of S o v i e t d e c l i n e cannot be u n d e r e s t i m a t e d ; the B a l t i c S t a t e s , a l t h o u g h i n s i g n i f i c a n t by g l o b a l s t a n d a r d s , have s e t an example for other S o v i e t r e p u b l i c s and n a t i o n a l groups to f o l l o w and w i l l for the near term remain p o l i t i c a l barometers of the S o v i e t f u t u r e . 9 Chapter One I. ESTONIAN POLITICS 1986 - 1988 The o b j e c t of Chapter One i s to document and s u r v e y the e v e n t s t h a t brought p o l i t i c a l reform to E s t o n i a i n d r a m a t i c f a s h i o n . B e f o r e the end of 1 9 8 7 , reforms were slow t o g a i n a c c e p t a n c e among t h e t o p l e v e l s of t h e E s t o n i a n Communist p a r t y . By 1988 E s t o n i a found i t s e l f i n the vanguard of the S o v i e t r e f o r m movement and w i t h u n p r e c e d e n t e d b o l d n e s s d e c l a r e d i t s e l f a " s o v e r e i g n " s t a t e i n a f e d e r a t i o n of S o v i e t r e p u b l i c s . No l e s s d r a m a t i c were t h e sweeping c h a n g e s i n E s t o n i a n d o m e s t i c p o l i t i c s t h a t r a p i d l y o u t p a c e d r e f o r m s i n most of the other r e p u b l i c s . Together w i t h the n e i g h b o u r i n g r e p u b l i c s of L a t v i a and L i t h u a n i a , E s t o n i a helped change the c o u r s e of S o v i e t p o l i t i c a l h i s t o r y i n ways u n t h i n k a b l e o n l y a few y e a r s e a r l i e r . P r i o r to 1 9 8 8 , however, G o r b a c h e v ' s reform p r o c e s s f a i l e d t o g a i n momentum i n E s t o n i a u n t i l an u p s u r g e i n p u b l i c a c t i v i s m on the one hand, and a behind the scenes s t r u g g l e f o r c o n t r o l on the o t h e r , brought the b a t t l e for d e m o c r a t i z a t i o n i n t o t h e open. Two i n t e r r e l a t e d f a c t o r s p r e c i p i t a t e d the sudden growth i n p u b l i c p o l i t i c a l p a r t i c i p a t i o n : the power vacuum t h a t developed w i t h i n the upper l e v e l s of the E s t o n i a n Communist P a r t y , and the t h r e a t of e x t e n s i v e e c o l o g i c a l damage from the s t r i p - m i n i n g of p h o s p h o r i t e i n E s t o n i a . 1 0 (A) The S t a t e of E s t o n i a n P a r t y P o l i t i c s Before 1988 The a u t h o r i t y of the ECP l e a d e r s h i p eroded because of g e n e r a t i o n a l change w i t h i n P a r t y ranks and the breakdown of d e m o c r a t i c c e n t r a l i s m . With respect to g e n e r a t i o n a l change, the top l e v e l s of the ECP, p r i o r to the d e a t h of B r e z h n e v , w e r e d i v i s i b l e i n t o homegrown E s t o n i a n a n d i m p o r t e d " Y e s t o n i a n " c a d r e s . 1 S i n c e a n n e x a t i o n by S t a l i n , E s t o n i a ' s Communist P a r t y had been r u n by R u s s i a n i z e d Y e s t o n i a n s i m p o r t e d from R u s s i a and S i b e r i a , whose l o y a l t i e s were u n q u e s t i o n a b l y R u s s i a n and whose m o t i v e s were p r i m a r i l y c a r e e r - o r i e n t e d . They spoke l i t t l e E s t o n i a n and r e m a i n e d c o m p l e t e l y o u t s i d e the mainstream of E s t o n i a n c u l t u r a l and s o c i a l l i f e . As the Y e s t o n i a n c a d r e s d i e d or r e t i r e d , they began to be r e p l a c e d by homegrown E s t o n i a n s whose l o y a l t i e s were a l s o c a r e e r - o r i e n t e d but whose p s y c h o l o g i c a l m i n d - s e t and base of support were s t i l l E s t o n i a n i n s t e a d of R u s s i a n . On a s i m p l i s t i c l e v e l , the b a t t l e for power a t the top l e v e l s of the ECP was a c y n i c a l f i g h t between r i v a l c l i q u e s t h a t had d i v e r g e n t l o y a l t i e s . On the other hand, the l i m i t e d p o l i t i c a l opt ions of E s t o n i a n s w i t h i n the S o v i e t p o l i t i c a l system meant t h a t the most t h a t E s t o n i a n s c o u l d hope f o r was to p l a c e l o c a l l y born and n a t i o n a l - m i n d e d c a d r e s i n t o h i g h e r P a r t y 1 R e i n T a a g e p e r a , " T h e B a l t i c S t a t e s : Y e a r s o f Dependence, 1980 - 1986, JBS, V o l . XX, No. I (Spring 1 9 8 9 ) , p. 69. 1 1 p o s t s who would then p r o t e c t E s t o n i a n i n t e r e s t s a g a i n s t those of Moscow. P a r a l l e l to the changes t a k i n g p l a c e at the top of the ECP s t r u c t u r e were g e n e r a t i o n a l changes among the middle and lower ranks of P a r t y . 2 New generat ions j o i n e d the P a r t y who grew up a f t e r the post-war S t a l i n i s t t e r r o r or j o i n e d d u r i n g the K h r u s h c h e v thaw and were l e s s a f r a i d to c r i t i c i z e the s y s t e m . N e i t h e r d i d t h e y b e l i e v e i d e o l o g i c a l l y a n d p h i l o s o p h i c a l l y i n t h e v a l u e of S o v i e t M a r x i s m . P a r t y membership was a n e c e s s a r y requirement for many c a r e e r s and t h e r e f o r e s i m p l y a f a c t of e v e r y d a y l i f e r a t h e r t h a n an i d e o l o g i c a l commitment. G e n e r a t i o n a l change w i t h i n the ECP i n c o m b i n a t i o n w i t h Gorbachev's l i b e r a l i z i n g reforms c o n t r i b u t e d to the breakdown of d e m o c r a t i c c e n t r a l i s m i n E s t o n i a . Democratic c e n t r a l i s m , i n t h e o r y , meant t h a t i n terms of the i n t e r n a l democracy of t h e P a r t y , e a c h s u c c e s s i v e e c h e l o n was f i l l e d b y r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s voted from the one below. I n r e a l i t y , the system worked d i r e c t l y i n r e v e r s e . Candidates at a l l l e v e l s of the P a r t y and a l s o the s t a t e bureaucracy were s u b j e c t to appointment and c o n f i r m a t i o n by the top l e v e l s of the ECP, who were themselves approved and appointed by Moscow. Democratic c e n t r a l i s m was a convenient l a b e l for t h i s system of patronage and h i e r a r c h y . 2 I b i d . 1 2 The a r r i v a l of Gorbachev to the l e a d e r s h i p of the S o v i e t Union meant t h a t the ECP l e a d e r s h i p c o u l d no longer t o t a l l y depend on the patronage of Moscow to safeguard i t s p o s i t i o n . However, E s t o n i a n p a r t y leader K a r l Vaino s u r v i v e d u n t i l the s p r i n g of 1988 p r i m a r i l y due to h i s a b i l i t y to m a r t i a l support i n Moscow and to take c r e d i t for E s t o n i a n economic s u c c e s s e s . H i s p o l i t i c a l d e m i s e came a s a r e s u l t of f a c t o r s w i t h i n E s t o n i a i t s e l f : the breakdown of the patronage system due to g e n e r a t i o n a l change and m a s s i v e c o r r u p t i o n . G e n e r a t i o n a l change meant that newer P a r t y members began to r e f u s e to c a r r y out d i r e c t i v e s from above t h a t they f e l t were u n n e c e s s a r y , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n r u r a l areas and towns away from the c a p i t a l i n T a l l i n n . One s u r e f i r e method by which to a v o i d the wrath of i n s p e c t o r s and s u p e r i o r s was to e n t e r t a i n them. The 1 9 7 0 ' s and e a r l y 1 9 8 0 ' s w i t n e s s e d a boom i n the c o n s t r u c t i o n of saunas. Every major E s t o n i a n kolkhoz, sovkhoz and i n d u s t r i a l c o n c e r n b u i l t s a u n a s and banquet f a c i l i t i e s where v i s i t i n g s u p e r i o r s c o u l d be l a v i s h l y e n t e r t a i n e d so t h a t t h e r e was l i t t l e need to a c t u a l l y tour the s i t e under i n s p e c t i o n . The r e s u l t of the growth i n c o r r u p t i o n was a corresponding d e c l i n e i n ECP a u t h o r i t y . A l l that mattered was that d i r e c t i v e s and p l a n s were completed on paper because at stake were not the a c t u a l r e s u l t s o f e c o n o m i c p r o j e c t s , b u t i n s t e a d t h e maintenance of the system of bonuses, awards, premiums, and p r a i s e from s u p e r i o r s which advanced one's c a r e e r . 1 3 The system of b u r e a u c r a t i c f r a u d developed under Brezhnev began t o u n r a v e l i n E s t o n i a upon G o r b a c h e v ' s a s c e n s i o n t o power. Upper l e v e l p a r t y c a d r e s became i s o l a t e d from m i d d l e and lower l e v e l s not o n l y due t o t h e n a t i o n a l i s t d i v i s i o n between E s t o n i a n s and Y e s t o n i a n s , but a l s o b e c a u s e t h e y no l o n g e r f u l l y c o n t r o l l e d t h e a c t i v i t i e s of t h e lower l e v e l c a d r e s they a p p o i n t e d . New c a d r e s thought more i n d e p e n d e n t l y , were b o l d e r , more n a t i o n a l i s t i c , and more c y n i c a l . By the time Brezhnev d i e d , they had s u c c e s s f u l l y used the c o r r u p t i o n of the e x i s t i n g system a g a i n s t t h e i r s u p e r i o r s and c r e a t e d an u n b r i d g e a b l e g u l f between lower P a r t y o f f i c i a l s and the P a r t y e l i t e . H i g h e r l e v e l o f f i c i a l s were u n i f o r m l y a c c o r d e d low r e s p e c t a n d w e r e c o n s i d e r e d c a r e e r i s t s a n d a g e n t s o f c o l o n i z a t i o n who s e r v e d o n l y Moscow. The Y e s t o n i a n s , i n p a r t i c u l a r , were r e v i l e d as being r e s p o n s i b l e f o r p e r m i t t i n g t h e m a s s i v e i m p o r t o f new i n d u s t r i e s a n d l a b o u r t h a t t h r e a t e n e d to c u l t u r a l l y and e c o l o g i c a l l y e x t i n g u i s h E s t o n i a . Open p o l i t i c a l c r i t i c i s m , however, was not p e r m i t t e d u n t i l g l a s n o s t was a l r e a d y a year o l d . The event t h a t broke the i c e was the p h o s p h o r i t e i s s u e . (B) Ecological Politics Under G o r b a c h e v , new p r e s s d i r e c t i v e s p e r m i t t e d p u b l i c d i s c u s s i o n of e c o l o g i c a l problems i n the media, and E s t o n i a n s r a p i d l y became aware of the a c u t e n e s s of t h e i r own e c o l o g i c a l 1 4 p r o b l e m s . 3 A i r p o l l u t i o n from o i l s h a l e i n d u s t r i e s and chemical wastes i n l a k e s , r i v e r s and the B a l t i c Sea became hot t o p i c s b e c a u s e most of the p o l l u t a n t s came from Moscow-c o n t r o l l e d a i l - U n i o n i n d u s t r i e s over which E s t o n i a n s had l i t t l e s a y . I n l a t e 1986, E s t o n i a n academics and j o u r n a l i s t s u n c o v e r e d l a r g e - s c a l e p l a n s t o s t r i p - m i n e p h o s p h o r i t e , a p r i m a r y s o u r c e of c h e m i c a l l y - b a s e d S o v i e t f e r t i l i z e r s . By e a r l y 1987 numerous a r t i c l e s began to appear i n the E s t o n i a n p r e s s condemning the p r o j e c t . At i s s u e were the d e s t r u c t i v e e f f e c t s of the mining i n comparison to the i n t e r e s t s of the a l l - S o v i e t m i n i s t r y of m i n e r a l f e r t i l i z e r s i n Moscow. From Moscow's p o i n t of view, the phosphorite a v a i l a b l e i n E s t o n i a was p r e f e r a b l e t o o t h e r S o v i e t s o u r c e s where no i n d u s t r i a l i n f r a s t r u c t u r e or t r a n s p o r t networks e x i s t e d . 4 From the E s t o n i a n p e r s p e c t i v e , to al low the phosphorite mines t o be b u i l t w o u l d c a u s e i r r e p a r a b l e damage t o E s t o n i a n f a r m l a n d and d r i n k i n g w a t e r , and b r i n g i n a new f l o o d of unwanted migrant l a b o u r . The phosphorite lodes were s i t u a t e d underneath E s t o n i a ' s most p r o d u c t i v e farmland which, i n t u r n , would t h e n be rendered u s e l e s s . When c o n f r o n t e d w i t h t h i s f a c t by t h e E s t o n i a n s , the r e a c t i o n from Moscow was t h a t s h o r t f a l l s of. f o o d s t u f f s c o u l d s i m p l y be made up by imports from elsewhere i n the S o v i e t Union. The other problem with 3 T i i t M a d e , E e s t i A ' r k a b j a V e - i t l e b , ( S t o c k h o l m : K i r j a s t u s V a l i s - E e s t i & EMP, 1 9 8 8 ) , pp. 5 1 - 6 1 . 4Made, pp. 5 3 - 5 7 . 1 5 the p h o s p h o r i t e was t h a t i t s p r o c e s s i n g r e q u i r e s the removal of ground water i n order to excavate the m i n e r a l , and a l s o to p r o c e s s i t i n t o u s a b l e form. Not only would deadly p o l l u t a n t s be r e l e a s e d through the p r o c e s s i n g system, but the removal of l a r g e q u a n t i t i e s of ground water would lower the water t a b l e i n the surrounding area to the extent t h a t w e l l s would dry up and the volume of the headwaters of E s t o n i a ' s major r i v e r s and s t r e a m s would be s i g n i f i c a n t l y a l t e r e d . I n a d d i t i o n , the f e r t i l i z e r t h a t was the f i n a l product of the mining p r o c e s s had l i m i t e d v a l u e for the i n c r e a s e of crop y i e l d s because i t was p o o r l y made and d i d not decompose e a s i l y . I n s t e a d the p h o s p h o r i t e - b a s e d f e r t i l i z e r ended up i n the water t a b l e through runoff from farmers' f i e l d s . Nonetheless , the Moscow-appointed d i r e c t o r of the mining p r o j e c t , Y u r i Yampol , d e c l a r e d on E s t o n i a n t e l e v i s i o n on F e b r u a r y 2 4 , 1 9 8 7 , t h a t the p r o j e c t must p r o c e e d i n t h e i n t e r e s t s of the S o v i e t Union as a whole and that i t would be u n f a i r for E s t o n i a n s to s i t on top of such a v a l u a b l e resource w i t h o u t s h a r i n g i t with other S o v i e t r e p u b l i c s . 5 E s t o n i a n p u b l i c r e a c t i o n was s w i f t and outspoken. Because of g l a s n o s t , t h e p h o s p h o r i t e i s s u e p r o v i d e d t h e p u b l i c w i t h a n u n p r e c e d e n t e d o p p o r t u n i t y to a i r t h e i r g r i e v a n c e s i n t h e E s t o n i a n media. A r t i c l e s by s c i e n t i s t s , academics, and p a r t y o f f i c i a l s o p e n l y condemned t h e p r o j e c t ' s e c o n o m i c and 5Made, p. 5 6 - 5 8 . 1 6 e c o l o g i c a l consequences, s t u d e n t s m o b i l i z e d on campuses and h i g h s c h o o l s , and c i t i z e n s f looded newspapers and government o f f i c e s w i t h l e t t e r s of p r o t e s t . The mining i s s u e became a p o l i t i c i z e d symbol of popular o p p o s i t i o n to Moscow's a r b i t r a r y economic p l a n n i n g and the unchecked i m m i g r a t i o n of l a b o u r which accompanied i t . As a d i r e c t r e s u l t of the f u r o r over p h o s p h o r i t e m i n e s , the E s t o n i a n government was f o r c e d t o t e m p o r a r i l y s h e l v e p l a n s for t h e i r development. On A p r i l 1 , 1 9 8 7 , Bruno S a u l , then Chairman of the C o u n c i l of M i n i s t e r s of the E . S . S . R . , d e c l a r e d a moratorium on new mining v e n t u r e s u n t i l t h e c l o s e o f 1 9 8 8 p e n d i n g t h e c o m p l e t i o n o f e n v i r o n m e n t a l s t u d i e s . However, S a u l a t the same time came o u t s t r o n g l y i n f a v o u r of t h e u s e of p h o s p h o r i t e - b a s e d f e r t i l i z e r s and thereby i n d i c a t e d the E s t o n i a n government's support i n p r i n c i p l e for s t r i p - m i n i n g . The p o l i t i c a l e f f e c t of S a u l ' s announcement was t o t o t a l l y d i s c r e d i t the E s t o n i a n Party l e a d e r s h i p i n the eyes of E s t o n i a n s . 6 The announcement of a moratorium could not change t h e f a c t t h a t t o E s t o n i a n s , t h e t o p l e v e l s of t h e ECP r e p r e s e n t e d t h e c e n t r a l i z e d , c o l o n i a l and b u r e a u c r a t i c i n t e r e s t s of Moscow. The c u r r e n t l e a d e r s h i p ' s p o s i t i o n was p e r c e i v e d to be no d i f f e r e n t from that of former S e c r e t a r y of the ECP C e n t r a l Committee V l a d i m i r Kao, who, i n r e p l y t o a q u e s t i o n concerning the excesses of E s t o n i a n o i l s h a l e mining, 6Made, 5 1 - 6 1 . 1 7 once p u b l i c l y d e c l a r e d t h a t " I f the i n t e r e s t s of the S o v i e t Union r e q u i r e i t , we w i l l dig up a l l of E s t o n i a ! " 7 At s t a k e for the ECP l e a d e r s h i p were not the i n t e r e s t s of E s t o n i a n s but i n s t e a d the bonuses, awards and honours t h a t would be bestowed on them by t h e i r patrons i n Moscow. ECP f i r s t s e c r e t a r y K a r l V a i n o i n p a r t i c u l a r was p e r c e i v e d as a shameless c a r e e r i s t whose s o l e a m b i t i o n i n i n d u s t r i a l i z i n g E s t o n i a was to r e t i r e t o the CPSU C e n t r a l Committee i n Moscow w i t h honours . The c r i s i s of c o n f i d e n c e c r e a t e d by t h e p h o s p h o r i t e i s s u e i l l u s t r a t e d t h a t the top l e v e l s of the ECP r e p r e s e n t e d , a t b e s t , a t h i n v e n e e r of p o l i t i c a l a u t h o r i t y i m p o r t e d from Moscow t h a t r u l e d over an unsupportive indigenous p o p u l a t i o n . I n c o n c l u s i o n , p e r h a p s t h e most i m p o r t a n t e f f e c t o f t h e m o r a t o r i u m was t o i n s p i r e t h e E s t o n i a n p u b l i c ' s s e l f -c o n f i d e n c e i n t h e i r a b i l i t y to e f f e c t m e a n i n g f u l p o l i t i c a l change w i t h i n a system t h a t t r a d i t i o n a l l y e x c l u d e d p o p u l a r p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g . The p h o s p h o r i t e i s s u e u n i f i e d P a r t y o r g a n i z a t i o n s below the C e n t r a l Committee l e v e l a g a i n s t the p r o j e c t and forced the E s t o n i a n s t a t e bureaucracy to c a p i t u l a t e to popular p r e s s u r e . I t was the f i r s t c l e a r v i c t o r y o f t h e s p i r i t of g l a s n o s t i n E s t o n i a a n d , i n p s y c h o l o g i c a l t e r m s , s e t t h e s t a g e f o r s u b s e q u e n t developments. 7Made, p. 60. 18 (C) Glasnost and Censorship Parallel in time frame to the phosphorite issue was a behind the scenes struggle for increased press freedom. Glasnost gave artists, writers, and Party members new courage to test the political waters. The result was that dissatisfaction with the official media policy erupted within party ranks at the Estonian Writers' Union Congress on April 24, 1986. Speakers at the congress demanded increased literary freedom and openly criticized the Brezhnev era practices of censorship, distortion of history, and restrictions on opportunities to travel. The speakers quoted extensively from Gorbachev's address at the Twenty-Seventh C.P.S.U. Congress where the First Secretary called for "new ways of thinking." This kind of criticism from an officially sanctioned, party approved and regulated body was unprecedented since the time of Khrushchev.8 Encouraged by liberal signals from Moscow, delegates to the Writers' Congress addressed the previously taboo topics of Russian immigration to Estonia, the Stalinist terror of the 1940's and political interference in writers' personal and professional affairs. Internationally recognized poet Jaan Kaplinski said that George Orwell's banned novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four" assumed a particular importance for him personally because the arbitrary rewriting of history in 8Toomas lives, Baltic Situation Report 4/86, Radio Free Europe Research, 18 July 1986, p. 7. 19 Estonia was a case of life imitating art. Kaplinski's comments referred to the relegation of several Estonian writers to the status of non-persons and the prohibition of the Estonian term for "Christmas."9 The dissension generated at the Writers' Congress gradually filtered into the media as liberal journalists and writers attempted to circumvent conservative editors and censors. By early 1987 indications of a cultural thaw began to appear. "Non-persons" and "non-books" emerged from outside the margins of official tolerance to an extent that could legitimately be termed a trend. Open criticism of censorship also reached the Party and Komsomol dailies, indicating a definite shift in media policy.10 Of additional significance were articles outside the mainstream press that dealt with the politically explosive topic of the "Russification" of Estonian culture, previously alluded to only indirectly through literature. Two landmark articles of note were by Teet Kallas in Sirp ja Vasar, March 6, 1987, and Mati Hint in Edasi, May 29, 1987. The Kallas article described the social tensions created by Russian immigration into Estonia and the resultant polarization and isolation of two very different cultures. Hint's article 9Toomas lives, Baltic Situation IReport 6/86, Radio Free Europe Research, 25 September 1986, pp. 3-6. 10Toomas lives, Baltic Situation Report 1/87, Radio Free Europe Research, 28 January 1987, pp. 7-10. 20 about language rights addressed the question of whether languages other than Russian have the moral right to exist and flourish in the Soviet system. Hint maintained that Russian stands out as the first among equals in official and administrative usage. Linguistic democracy should include the right to speak "the truth" in the language of your choice; a "truth" undistorted by the political doublespeak and censorship of an artificial, Russian-speaking "Soviet" culture.11 The importance of Russian-Estonian relations in Estonian politics cannot be underestimated. Russian immigration is the political issue most visible to the average Estonian, an issue that generates strong emotions and occasional violence. The tension is a product of large-scale demographic changes in Estonia since 1945. An influx of military personnel and migrant workers has caused a large decrease in Estonians as a percentage of total Estonian population, and many Estonians openly fear that, without controls on immigration, Estonia is headed toward linguistic and cultural extinction. GLASNOST AND PRESS FREEDOM The incident that brought the press controversy to a head was a political demonstration on August 23, 1987 in Tallinn to xlTeet Kallas, "Complex Cultural Relations", Sirp ja Vasar, 6 March 1987, p. 3 (continued in Sirp ja Vasar, 13 March 1987, p. 2) and Mati Hint, "Democracy and Language," Edasi, 29 May 1987, p. 3. 21 protest the Stalin-Hitler accord that gave the Baltic to the Soviet Union. Although the demonstration was small, orderly, and officially approved for the first time ever, official press reaction was uniformly negative. According to state sources the organizers and participants of the demonstration were "dupes of foreign radio broadcasts and C.I.A. propaganda that sought to disrupt the internal affairs of Estonia."12 One month after the demonstration, on September 23, 1987, the Director of the E.C.P. Central Committee Department of Agitation and Propaganda received a letter of protest over official media treatment of the August 23rd events signed by the respective heads of the Architects', Composers', Cinematographers1, Writers' and Artists' Unions. The five signatories were senior party members in good standing appointed to their positions on the basis of political reliability. Their complaints were that the state-controlled media distorted the actual nature of the August 23rd demonstrations through falsification of basic facts and by lowering the actual number of participants. The letter stated that the media's use of " vague rhetoric and veiled propaganda sounded like a literal translation of a text dictated from 12Toomas lives, "Phosphorite Excavation in Estonia," Estonian Information Centre Newsletter, Stockholm, Vo. XLII, August 1987, pp. 22-36. 22 Moscow" and ran counter to the spirit and purpose of glasnost.13 The signatories demanded full publication of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and an end to "vague and distorted analyses" of history in education, the media and the arts. The sensitive nature of the protest and the political stature of the protesters indicated that the power struggle and dissension within the Estonian apparat, first evident in 1986, was gathering momentum.14 In a conservative counterattack on liberal trends, leading figures within the E.C.P. Politburo and Central Committee convened a closed conference in December of 1987 to discuss "critical" ideological issues. Summoned to the meeting were Central Committee members, raion and city party committee secretaries, Estonian K.G.B. officials,, officials from the Council of Ministers and Presidium of the Estonian Supreme Soviet, and representatives from the media, educational institutions and larger industrial enterprises. Samizdat accounts of the session described the purpose of the meeting as an attempt by the upper levels of the E.C.P. to reassert control over an increasingly liberal media. Singled out for censure were liberal-minded news editors, the articles by Mati Hint and Teet Kallas, and anything sympathetic to the 13Toomas lives, Baltic Situation Report 1/87, Radio Free Europe Research, 21 January 1988, pp. 7-8. 14Ibid. 23 demonstration of August 23, 1987. Prominent Estonian conservative Gustav Naan summed up the proceedings when he stated in a keynote address that "the events in Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Poland in 1980 all got off the ground because the Party allowed the press out of its control ... The same is happening in Estonia today." At the end of the meeting Naan and other party officials called for increased vigilance by the K.G.B. and Ministry of Internal Affairs against those who would foment "nationalist disturbances. "15 From a conservative viewpoint Naan's assumption that an uncontrolled Estonian press could create "undesirable" political forces within society was correct. Incremental advances in press freedom encouraged advances in popular political activism as demonstrated by the phosphorite issue. What Naan could not publicly admit was that the desire and pre-conditions for an open press and open government existed within Estonian society long before glasnost and perestroika. The desire to attempt to create a more benign political system had, by the end of 1987, also penetrated into the middle levels of the party (i.e., the raion and city party committees) and the state bureaucracy (city and raion executive committees). In retrospect, the E.C.P. Central Committee's call for renewed ideological vigilance in the 15Ibid., pp. 11-13. 24 media achieved the exact opposite of the desired effect. The gulf between the middle and upper levels of the party became permanent. Through a conspiracy of silence, the raion and city party committees began to refuse to acknowledge Central Committee directives. The press, encouraged by the apparent power vacuum at the top of the party, seized the initiative and presented open attacks on opponents of glasnost. Vaino and his supporters within the E.C.P. Central Committee and Bureau drifted into political isolation from the party mainstream and were completely unprepared for the revolutionary events that followed.16 II. 1988; THE EFFECTS OF GLASNOST Compared to the political inertia that characterized the Brezhnev years, the political changes of 1988 were truly radical in scope. The tumultuous speed of Estonian developments created the impression that the foundations of political culture shifted virtually overnight; however, the explosion in political activity was more a change in the method by which political grievances could be aired than in substance. The underlying issues that dominated the political concerns of the public remained the same as before Gorbachev: Russification of Estonian culture; immigration, ecology, the falsification of history, and economic mismanagement. The 22Ibid. 25 difference in the political environment now was that new forums for popular political participation appeared that previously existed only in truncated forms outside of the party controlled mainstream. Existing official organizations suddenly gained the impetus to escape their status as control centers of the apparat. We must remember that up until this time virtually all Estonian artistic, cultural and professional organizations and associations were still directly controlled and/or administered by the ECP. Their directors were appointed on the basis of personal reliability and the ability to maintain discipline. Under glasnost, however, the system of rewards and punishments broke down. As mentioned above, generational change in cadres produced a new breed of Party member unwilling to blindly obey directives from above. Glasnost now provided unprecedented opportunities to more openly discuss Party directives and bring into question their logic and wisdom. Top Party officials, on the other hand, were now loathe to appear unprogressive in the new political atmosphere created by Gorbachev, for fear of damaging their careers. Karl Vaino, in particular, attempted to become politically invisible by delegating most functions to subordinates. Within official state organizations a bizarre situation emerged. Reform-minded officials now presided over stagnation-era subordinates, who accustomed to Stalinist manners, continued to willingly accept all directives from above, even if the orders ran directly counter to previous 26 policy. In other cases, officials who had formerly kept silent, now began to voice their true concerns and display their actual loyalties. The acceptance of reform in Estonian Communist Party ranks became a full-scale rebellion by intellectuals and artists who had previously been kept in check through fear of losing their jobs or personal freedoms. With the increased room for political manoeuvre provided by glasnost and the cultural divide that separated the ECP elite from the Party mainstream, the Party leadership could no longer function. Their orders were simply not followed by subordinates whose cultural loyalties were radically divergent from their own. The resulting power vacuum provided Estonian intellectuals with the chance to unify and realize long-dormant ambitions of escaping the prison of Party control. The key point to remember here is that although Estonia's rapid political evolution was initially a product of the new political winds blowing from Moscow, the preconditions for the acceptance of reforms existed in cultural form long before Gorbachev. The fundamental issues for Estonians continued to be cultural survival and decolonization. The drive toward cultural survival unified Estonians both inside and outside of Party ranks against the imported ruling elite. This opposition manifested itself firstly through the phosphorite issue and later through a struggle to control the Estonian press. The first signs of victory of the Estonian reform movement over conservatives became apparent by the spring of 1988 when on April 1 Estonian artists, professionals, and 27 writers joined together in a symbolic statement of principles that changed the course of Estonian political history. (A) The Joint Plenum of Estonian Artistic and Cultural Unions The purpose of the joint forum was to discuss problems of perestroika and then communicate the results in the form of resolutions to the upcoming 19th C.P.S.U. Conference in June of 1988. The political importance of the plenum was underscored by the fact that the entire E.C.P. Bureau and Central Committee were invited to participate. The substance and tone of the resolutions, however, left little doubt that dissatisfaction with Vaino's leadership and the slow pace of perestroika was widespread. The plenum adopted a seven point resolution that proposed radical changes in the republic's administration as part of the reforms to be considered at the upcoming C.P.S.U. conference. These proposals included a drastic cutback in the rights and privileges of All-Union Ministries; guarantees of cultural independence; radical changes in the electoral system; new criteria for appointments to leading government positions; the elimination of secret government; official condemnation of Stalinism and the rehabilitation of its victims; an expansion of the legal, economic, and cultural rights of the republic; and the replacement of republican officials who do not support perestroika. (See Appendix I for a complete translation.)17 17Savisaar, pp. 3-4. 28 In addition, the plenum passed a resolution addressed to the E.G.P. Central Committee, Supreme Soviet and Council of Ministers that demanded sweeping changes in the management of the republic and declared that the plenum held the leaders of the E.S.S.R. personally responsible for economic mismanagement and gross political incompetence.18 The resolution also called on the Estonian leadership to support the seven point proposal sent to the C.P.S.U. Conference. The plenum produced several additional proposals for radical social, economic and political reform within Estonia: 1) That the republic's legislative organs take the initiative to change the all-Union and republican constitutions in order to guarantee the economic and cultural independence of the E.S.S.R.; 2) That E.S.S.R. citizenship be defined in both the constitution and the laws of the republic. (i.e., citizens would have rights and privileges not available to immigrants and temporary residents.); 3) That implementation begin on the transference of Estonia to complete economic self-management on a territorial basis and that all materials produced by various working groups on the matter be made public. (The self-management concept already had widespread 18Made, pp.116-125. 29 public approval but was condemned by the E.C.P. leadership under Vaino); 4) That there be public discussion of fundamental issues in the republic before political decisions are made by the governing bodies of the E.S.S.R., and that a system be devised and set up to determine public opinion on important matters and to publish the results of such surveys regularly; 5) That the public be guaranteed as much information as possible about, and real control of, the activities of the police in order to minimize the possibility of lawbreaking by the police at times when, in complicated situations, their behaviour might become provocative and dangerous (in reference to civil rights abuse by the K.G.B. and local police forces.); 6) That all mass deportations from Estonia in 1941 and in the post-war years be declared illegal and that all the acts that provided the basis for those deportations be annulled; that lists of all those repressed be published; that a section of the Estonian Museum of History be created to house all the materials relating to the illegal repressions; and that a monument to the innocent victims of Stalinism be established (upwards of 60,000 to 70,000 Estonians were deported to Siberian camps 30 during the collectivization and rural pacification programs of Stalinism in the late 1940's.); 7) That in light of the plenum's dissatisfaction with the activities of E.C.P. First Secretary, Karl Vaino, and the Chairman of the E.S.S.R. Council of Ministers, Bruno Saul, the council considers it necessary to stress that it expects greater initiative and devotion to principle from the leadership of the E.S.S.R. in defending the republic's interests and constitutional rights. (From Toomas lives, Baltic Situation Report 6, Radio Free Europe Research, 3 June 1988) The difference between this and past plenums was the unprecedented outspokenness of the participants. They openly criticized the E.C.P. leadership by name and discussed taboo topics that previously circulated only in samizdat form: the role of the party and the K.G.B. in public life, Estonia's incorporation into the Soviet Union and the possibility of independence from Soviet rule. The task now was how to convert the ideas of the plenum into action. The Plenum of the Cultural Unions thus became the philosophical and ideological cornerstone of the Popular Front movement initiated two weeks later on April 13, 1988.19 19Made, p. 119. 31 (B) The Popular Front Movement The "Popular Front in Support of Perestroika" announced its platform on Estonian television on April 13th, and again in the city of Tartu newspaper, Edasi, on April 30th. The main points of the declaration of principles were: 1) The Popular Front (P.F.) is a democratic movement based on citizen initiative. Its purpose is to secure public control of all elected and appointed party and state governing bodies. 2) The creation of the P.F. is mandated by the need for a democratic political mechanism that can secure the irreversibility of perestroika in all areas of social, economic, political and cultural life. The P.F. is a bulwark against attempts by the state bureaucracy to restore and preserve methods of management and ideological dogmas characteristic of the Stalin and stagnation eras. The P.F. will form a united opposition against corruption and the abuse of power. 3) The P.F. unites and co-ordinates the initiatives of various unions, clubs, societies, work collectives and associations regardless of nationality that pledge to implement perestroika and fight against the Stalinist command system of government inherited from the past. The platform of the P.F. proceeds from the resolutions of the joint plenum of artistic and cultural unions sent to the upcoming 19th C.P.S.U. Conference and to the highest organs of the republic. The economic platform of the P.F. consists of advancing Estonia toward complete economic autonomy. 4) The guiding principles of the P.F. are socialist democracy and pluralism; political and economic sovereignty of the Soviet republics; cultural autonomy of all nationalities in the Soviet Union; protection of civil rights. 5) The P.F. has both individual and group members. Its basic units are voluntary support groups from commercial enterprises, schools, co-operatives or any other organization that wishes to join. The activities of the support groups are co-ordinated by regional councils composed of support group 32 representatives. The highest organ of the P.F. is the general assembly, or Peoples Congress of Representatives headed by a collegial leadership chosen at the Congress. 6) The activity of the P.F. and all its organs is public and in strict conformity with the Estonian S.S.R. constitution and related legislation. 7) The P.F. is not subordinated to any other state organ or body nor does it control the activities or policies of P.F. support groups outside of joint action taken by the P.F. as a whole. 8) The activity of the P.F. will be to co-ordinate the monitoring and promotion of co-operation between the electorate and their representatives in all state organs and bodies, participation in election campaigns, public debates and referendums on major decision and projects.20 The Popular Front is, in the words of P.F. organizer Edgar Savisaar, "a revolution from below" that must unify with Gorbachev's "revolution from above." "The function of the P.F. is to create a new political culture that guarantees the irreversibility of perestroika and democratization on Estonian terms. The object of the P.F. is to eliminate the command system of centralized politics inherited from Stalin and to fight the bureaucratic power elite who seek to preserve feudalistic control of industry and agriculture. The political superstructure of our society is outmoded. It is time for people to mobilize politically and topple a bankrupt 20English Translation from "Popular Front: Gaining Strength", Kodumaa (Tallinn, Estonia), 25 May 1988. 33 political leadership that will hang on to power at all costs. "21 The political mechanism to create a "revolution from below" took the form of grassroots PF support groups of citizen activists. The groups represented schools, factories, offices, state farms and any other group who wished to support the PF irrespective of nationality, religious or political affiliation. The task of each group was to ensure that reform-minded leadership and ideas prevailed within their respective schools, workplaces and communities. The PF was a loose collection of lobby and "watchdog" groups similar to interest groups and coalitions of citizen activists in Western democracies and "grass roots" organizations like Solidarity in Poland. The activities of the support groups embraced both local and general concerns, the guiding principle being the common desire for wholesale political change on all levels of Estonian political life.22 The growth of the PF also resembled the creation of a new political party in opposition to the ECP's traditional monopoly on power. Suddenly the ECP found itself in competition with a parallel political influence on every level of social and political activity, from the management of large 21Edgar Savisaar, "Rahvarinne - Revolutsioon Altpoolt" (Popular Front — Revolution from Below), Sirp ja Vasar, 13 May 1988, p. 3 & 12. 22Ibid. industries to the smallest administrative units of rural government. The difference between the ECP and the PF was in the locus of power within each organization. Executive power within the ECP was traditionally concentrated at the top of the organizational pyramid in the Bureau and Central Committee. The PF, in contrast, stressed the informal and participatory nature of its activities. The key element for the PF was the elimination of concentrated and centralized power that characterized Soviet political thinking since the time of Stalin. The purpose of the PF as stated in its platform was to achieve soviet power in all ruling bodies and to place all important government bodies and activities of the party apparat under public control. The PF therefore envisioned itself as a complement to the ECP in addition to its role as a quasi-opposition party and political watchdog. A complicating issue was the fact that the PF was headed by a number of ranking ECP members who used their party standing to work within the established system in order to promote reform. The participation of Estonian Communist Party members raised the question among radicals of whether the PF was a true alternative to the ECP or simply a means of co-opting and controlling dissatisfaction among the non-party public. Despite ECP participation, the PF1s "revolution from below" failed to gain approval from "above." The PF's formal request for recognition and support from the ECP Central 35 Committee and the Estonian Supreme Soviet met with rejection and active opposition from the Party leadership and the state bureaucracy. A key issue was the selection of 32 delegates from Estonia to the XIX CPSU Conference in June. Instead of democratic elections by secret ballot as officially announced, the majority of delegates were appointed by the Party Bureau and Central Committee. The PF's parallel slate managed to elect only 5 of the 32; the rest were handpicked from ECP organizations.23 The ensuing controversy was sufficient stimulus for the PF to call for a mass rally in Tallinn on June 17. Although the official purpose of the rally was to demonstrate support for Estonian delegates to the CPSU Conference (a motive that the most ardent party conservatives could not publicly argue against), the meeting's actual purpose became a show of support for the five reform delegates and an expression of popular sentiment in support of radical political reforms. The gathering of 150,000 at the Tallinn festival grounds was the largest political meeting in Estonian history up to that time. This was no small feat in a political environment where mass meetings were traditionally feared and prohibited. The replacement of the ECP First Secretary Karl Vaino on the eve of the rally by Vaino Valjas seemed almost anti-climactic in 23Ibid., Savisaar, p. 3 36 comparison to the tension that reigned for weeks before the gathering. The appointment of the Estonian delegation by the ECP leadership to the upcoming CPSU conference in Moscow without proper elections proved to be the issue that finally unseated Vaino from his post.24 Reformers were infuriated that Vaino had the nerve to proceed along traditional lines in attempting to place his own candidates at will. Imported by Brezhnev from Siberia, Vaino was neither fluent in Estonian nor cognizant of the motivations of the people over whom he ruled. Although an attempt to remove him from office from within the ECP Central Committee failed in the wake of the CPSU conference delegate controversy, Vaino's fate was sealed when he appealed to Moscow for armed intervention in order to stop the imminent PF rally. Despite Vaino's last-ditch attempt to hang on to power, moderates and reformers within the ECP led by the newly-appointed and reform-minded Secretary of Ideology for the ECP, Indrek Toome, succeeded in communicating to the Kremlin that Vaino's attitudes were dangerous and unsupported by the vast majority of Estonians. Moscow clearly wished to avoid more bad publicity over its handling of nationality affairs in the wake of events in Armenia and had little need to complicate matters elsewhere by -taking armed action against 2 4Rein Taagepera, "Estonia in September 1988: Stalinists, Centrists and Restorationists", JBS, Vol. XX, No. 3 (Fall 1989), p. 277. an ostensibly pro-perestroika demonstration in Estonia. However, at the time of the PF rally several warships dropped anchor within sight of the meeting and stayed there for two weeks. It is still unknown whether their arrival was coincidental to the PF rally or part of a hidden agenda yet to be revealed. III. INDEPENDENT ALTERNATIVE GROUPS The political revolution initiated at the April plenum of the Council of Creative Unions expanded rapidly into a plurality of political movements. The new forms expressed a diversity of political orientations and resembled western-style pressure groups and political parties. Previously illegal or simply non-existent in the context of Estonian political life, the new additions to the political landscape developed into a semblance of a multi-party system and challenged the traditional Communist Party monopoly on political power and authority. (A) The Estonian Heritage Society (EHS) The EHS was a pioneering group of seminal importance that preceded the rise of the PF. Formally founded and chartered on December 12, 1987, the roots of the EHS go back to 1983 when the Society's request for official recognition by state authorities was rejected. The organization went underground and surfaced again in October of 1986 with clandestine meetings of representatives from various unofficial "Heritage 38 Clubs". These "clubs" later formed the first chapters of the Estonian Heritage Society. The breakthrough for the EHS came in December of 1987 when the Society became the first organization of its kind in Estonia (i.e., citizen-initiated and supported) that was permitted to function on its own without official state approval.25 The declared purpose of the society was to promote the preservation and advancement of an Estonian cultural identity by protection of historic sites, the reconstruction of sites and monuments destroyed since 1939, the resurrection of banned monuments to the soldiers who died in the war of Independence against the Soviet Union in 1918, the restoration of cultural symbols prohibited since 1939, the revision of Estonian history to reflect actual events instead of the distortion inherent in Soviet versions, and to demand the rehabilitation of and reparations for victims of the Stalinist terror of the 1940's and early 1950's.26 Although the Society's constitution stated an intent to remain apolitical, the activities of the EHS were emotion-charged and politicized affairs that only one or two years earlier would have netted the participants jail terms and personal harassment by state authorities. A primary function of the EHS, in the words of leader Trivimi Velliste, was "to 25Trivimi Velliste, "Muinsuskaitse Seltsi Esimene Aasta" (The First Year of the EHS) Kultuur ja Elu, 12 (1988), 4-5. 26Made, pp. 62-70. 39 overcome the fear of speaking out about the past, to overcome the paralysis of will inherited from the Stalin era, and to overcome years of life under the weight of a false and distorted official historiography." 2 7 Their public commemoration of historic events and sites became moving tributes to the victims of Stalin, cathartic ceremonies that brought out long-repressed political feelings and sentiments. Arguably their most memorable achievement was the restoration of the blue, black and white tricolour flag that represented the independent Estonian state between World Wars. Possession and/or display of these colours was outlawed and punishable by a jail term until June 23 of 1988 when the Estonian Supreme Soviet ratified a law that declared the colours and flag legal once again after 49 years of official non-recognition. The EHS was the first organized group to dare to use the colours at public gatherings and the idea spread rapidly when citizens realized that government authorities no longer possessed the will or power to curb public display of the outlawed colours. Tricolour flags and banners were in abundance at the June 17 PF rally at which time the full impact of the restored colours became apparent. The restored flag, together with patriotic pre-war songs (some also banned), symbolized a common national ideal that 22Ibid. 40 politically unified citizens, who otherwise dared not express themselves.28 The importance of the EHS, therefore, cannot be underestimated in terms of its effect on Estonian political culture. Its pioneering work in tapping the collective political subconscious of the Estonian public through the use of national myths and symbols changed the substance of Soviet-era Estonian political culture and opened the door for other political groups to take the initiative. In one sense, the work of the EHS was profoundly ethnocentric in that the focus was entirely on national cohesion, cultural awareness and self-protection. However, in another sense its work was a bulwark against Russification and the forces of political conservatism that sought to falsify history and negate perestroika. The EHS thereby helped to create the psychological pre-conditions in Estonia for the growth of political pluralism and opened the door for the Popular Front by broadening the spectrum of permissible political activity. (B) Estonian National Independence Party Like the EHS, the Estonian National Independence Party (ENIP) also stretched the boundaries of tolerated political activity. At the founding convention of ENIP on August 20 of 1988 approximately 200 delegates chose a party executive, a governing council and a political platform that was more 22Ibid. independence-oriented than the PF. The ENIP evolved from a small group of radicalized and prison camp hardened political dissidents who, after years of illegal underground activity, surfaced again in the new climate of political reform. Active since the end of the 1960's, the Estonian dissident movement issued samizdat publications, and made contact with human rights groups in the West and in other parts of the Soviet Union. They formed a Helsinki Accord monitoring group which sent appeals and open letters that documented human rights abuses to the U.N., to Soviet and Western politicians, and to Soviet and Western newspapers. Some movement members were arrested and imprisoned while others suffered harassment by authorities in their personal lives. The newly elected leadership of the ENIP came from the remnants of this dissident movement.29 Their transition from underground activists to public politicians passed through an intermediate stage in the form of the Estonian Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact Glasnost Group (MRP-AEG), the immediate predecessor of the ENIP. Formed on August 15 of 1987, the group's purpose was to publicize and demand the invalidation of the Hitler-Stalin agreement of 1939 that divided Eastern Europe into Nazi-Soviet spheres of influence, to seek freedom for all political prisoners, and to eventually restore Estonia's pre-war political independence. The MRP-AEG 29Misiunas and Taagepera, pp. 253-259. 42 group's activities again included the circulation of samizdat material, open letters to Soviet and Estonian officials, and public demonstrations. Constantly harassed by local authorities, the group persevered and succeeded in staging political meetings that only a year earlier would have been impossible.30 Their first demonstration, on August 23rd of 1987 in a public park in Tallinn, was an open protest against the the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Speakers from the MRP-AEG demanded full public disclosure of the Nazi-Soviet accord and the freedom to openly discuss the historical events that led to the agreement. Although the demonstration was the first of its type to receive official sanction in Estonia under the new politics of reform, the meeting still ran into opposition. Two speakers were deported to Sweden while others continued to be harassed by the KGB. In addition, the Estonian and All-Union press roundly condemned the meeting as an example of Western interference in Soviet internal affairs. Moscow journalist Platon Afanasjev, for example, wrote in Komsomolskaya Pravda that the meeting was entirely organized by Western radio stations (Voice of America and Radio Free Europe); that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was a western 30MRP-AEG Infobulletaan I, Stockholm, November 1987. 43 fabrication; and that the participants of the demonstrations were anti-Soviet fascists and neo-Nazis.31 Despite official hostility, the demonstration was an important achievement in setting a precedent for other alternative groups to follow. The political ferment generated by the meeting gave other groups the confidence to organize without fear of imprisonment (although reprisals or deportations were still a possibility at this time). To illustrate the rapid pace of political evolution, we only have to move ahead twelve months to August 23rd of 1988. What was officially condemned in 1987 was by August of 1988 considered an accepted part of Estonian political life. Instead of one demonstration under difficult conditions, there were now two officially sanctioned meetings, both without arrests or harassment and with full media coverage: one staged by the MRP-AEG and the other by the PF. Instead of the distortions of Platon Afanasjev, the guest speaker at the PF meeting, Moscow historian Jiiri Afanasjev, stated that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact not only actually existed but that its signature marked the enforced occupation of the Baltic. He added that the Soviet contention that the Baltic states voluntarily joined the Soviet Union is false and that nowhere is history falsified more than in the Soviet Union.32 31Toomas lives, "Molotov-Ribbentropi Pakti Aastapaeva Demonstratsioonid," Vaba Eestlane, 30 August 1988, p. 294. 32Ibid. 44 The other demonstration of note organized by the MRP-AEG was the commemoration in Tallinn of the Seventieth Anniversary of the independence of Estonia. Formerly a province of Czarist Russia, Estonia declared itself an independent nation-state on February 24, 1918. After two years of warfare, the Soviet Union signed the Treaty of Tartu with Estonia on February 29, 1920. The agreement formally ended hostilities, promised reparations to Estonia and renounced in perpetuity all claims by the Soviet Union on the territory of Estonia. The significance of the February 24th demonstration in Tallinn was, firstly, that it was permitted to proceed at all by state authorities. The official version of Soviet history traditionally held that the Treaty of Tartu is no longer in force because Estonia voluntarily joined the Soviet Union in 1940. The February 24th demonstration was the first such commemoration since 1940. Secondly, the official reaction to the d e m o n s t r a t i o n differed from the past. Instead of immediate dispersal or mass arrests, the authorities organized a counter demonstration that supported the ECP viewpoint and sought to discredit MRP-AEG claims that Estonia's independence be restored. The explosive nature of the questions asked and the answers given at discussion periods following the meetings was unprecedented for a public gathering. The open candor displayed at the meetings indicated that greater numbers of 45 people were able to overcome the fear of publicly stating their viewpoint without the threat of reprisals.33 To once again illustrate the dramatic speed of Estonian p o l i t i c a l developments over the last year, the official reaction to the February 24, 1988, demonstration was mild in comparison to the 1989 commemoration of the same date. In 1988, Estonian authorities sought to control the nature of events by carefully directing the 6,000 to 7,000 people gathered toward officially sponsored "public information sessions". In 1989 the Estonian Communist Party commemorated the anniversary of Estonian independence on its own intiative a n d , b e f o r e an a u d i e n c e of over 1 5 0 , 0 0 0 in T a l l i n n , ceremoniously raised the formerly illegal flag of independent Estonia over the Estonian parliament buildings. After having achieved their initial goal of publicising the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the MRP-AEG group declared its intent to form an alternative political party and formal opposition to the ECP in August of 1987. The ENIP's initial platform, dated January 22, 1988, embraced a "within system" approach for the implementation of a western-style multiparty parliamentary democracy based on constitutional guarantees of civil rights. The ENIP was at the time willing to use the existing political structure of the Soviet Union to fulfill 33Toomas lives, Baltic Situation Report 2/88, Radio Free Europe Research, 16 February 1988, pp. 3-5. and Baltic Situation Report 3, Radio Free Europe Research, 24 March 1988, pp. 7-12. its goal of the restoration of the sovereign and independent Estonian nation-state. In other words, the ENIP wished to interpret literally the liberal provisions for individual rights and the rights of the republics outlined in the existing Soviet Constitution and apply them in fact, not just in theory as was traditionally the case. Their reasoning was that since the Soviet Union had one of the world's most progressive Constitutions on paper, why not try and live up to its standards in actuality. In this respect, the initial p l a t f o r m of the ENIP was quite similar to the p r o g r a m developed by the PF later in the year.34 (see Appendix). A s p o l i t i c a l o p p o r t u n i t i e s e x p a n d e d , h o w e v e r , possibilities for activism progressed far beyond what could have been imagined at the beginning of the year. By the time of its formal founding convention in August 20 of 1988, the ENIP was radicalized. Its political declaration issued on August 20 stated that if Estonians were mature enough for political independence in 1918 they were even more so now. "Without total political independence for Estonia, the top-down revolution of perestroika is a cynical farce designed to save the CPSU from extinction. Our demand for the return of independence is not extremist, only realistic; for only through the liquidation of Stalinism and a commitment to democracy and independence can we give others something to 34Ibid. 16 February 1988, pp. 7-10. 47 hope for. If we shy away from this we are committing a crime not only against our own people but against Russians and other Soviet peoples on whom Stalinism has left an even deeper and more horrible imprint. We are only asking back for what is already rightfully ours. We have to fight for it ourselves; no one is going to hand us our release from s o c i a l i s t colonialism.1,35 Despite the radical rhetoric, the ENIP was grudgingly tolerated by authorities and no longer harassed. The extent of o f f i c i a l tolerance was shown when the ENIP received p e r m i s s i o n to hold a press conference in October 1988 regarding the "Memorandum on the Situation in Estonia". The memo, dispatched by the ENIP to the governments of 26 nations and United Nations Secretary-General Perez de Cuellar, laid out the reasons why the Estonian nation was in a stage where its survival was "in immediate jeopardy". The memo stated that since the text of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact had now been published in the Estonian media (it was published in the Rahva Haal on August 11, 1988) there could be no further justification for the annexation of the Baltic States and the deprivation of their independence by the Soviet Union. In addition, the memo accused the Soviet government of genocide, colonialism and numerous violations of U.N. principles, which "authorizes the U.N. General Assembly to recommend measures 3 5 " E R S P J u h a t u s e T e a d e " ( M e s s a g e F r o m the E N I P Executive), Vaba Eestlane, 30 August 1988, pp. 9-10. 48 for peaceful solutions to such situations." The ENIP Council proposed that the Estonian issue should be put on the agenda of the U.N. General Assembly plenary session of 1988 and discussed also at other U.N. forums.36 The press conference for the ENIP memo completed a cycle begun in 1972 when a similar memo, written by the predecessors of the ENIP, the Estonian Democratic Movement and the Estonian National Front, reached U.N. headquarters. In the aftermath, two of the signatories (who were also signatories in 1988) received long prison sentences. In 1979, on the fortieth anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, another Baltic Appeal reached the U.N. for which several Estonian signatories also were imprisoned. Now, ten years later in 1989, the newly reconstituted Supreme Soviet in Moscow has formed a special g o v e r n m e n t commission to determine whether the M o l o t o v -R i b b e n t r o p Pact actually existed and whether the Baltic Republics were forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union. Mikk Titma, secretary of ideology for the Estonian Communist Party publicly stated in April, 1989, that Moscow will "find" the document that describes the secret protocols sometime before the fiftieth anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact 36Arved Jurgenson, "Independence Party Appeals to U.N.," Kodumaa (English Supplement), Tallinn, Estonia, 2 November, 1988, p. 1-2. 49 on August 23rd of 1989, a prediction that later proved to be essentially correct.37 In summation, the function of the ENIP throughout its various incarnations as the EDC and the MRP-AEG was to attempt to expand the parameters of permissible political activity t h r o u g h d e m a n d s for h o n e s t h i s t o r i o g r a p h y and t o t a l independence for Estonia. In their role as pioneers, their influence often exceeded their small numbers. Although the ENIP was a small group, and regarded by many in Estonia as extremist, its existence provided a political benchmark for other Estonian groups by which to gauge the safety of their own activity in the face of ever-present state repression. (C) Estonian Independent Youth Forum (EIYF) Another product of the political spring of 1988 in Estonia was the EIYF which met on the fourth of June in Tallinn. The 1000 participants came from Komsomol, church groups, the PF, the MRP-AEG, the EHS, the Greens, university student organizations and others. Only six months earlier they would have found that meeting under one roof was not yet in the realm of possibilities. The EIYF was not exactly a movement but an epochal event in terms of the focus of discussion. The conference provided a forum where a cross-37"Soviets Admit to Deal with Nazis," Vancouver Province, 30 April 1989, p. 25. See also "Soviet Version of Baltics' 1940 Annexation 'A Lie' Congress Told", Globe and Mail, 2 June 1989, p. A8. 50 section of Estonian youth openly and freely argued and discussed the reasons for their exclusion and alienation from mainstream politics.38 Traditionally Estonian youth either worked "within the system" or remained silently on the margins of political life. Youth in Estonia adapted to perestroika slowly in terms of o r g a n i z e d a c t i v i t y . Those who earlier joined official organizations and climbed the party ladder were now loath to commit themselves to radical reforms that were far from guaranteed. Similarly, those who refused to make personal compromises and work under the political restrictions of party life were also unwilling to express themselves for fear of official recrimination. The period preceding the EIYF became known as the "time of half-truths" where the boundaries and rules of correct political behaviour shifted monthly. The EIYF signalled the end of "half-truths" by calling into critical account the activities of the ECP and its officially sanctioned youth groups.39 The general tone of the commentary at the forum indicated that the pace of reform was judged to be far too slow in the Soviet Union and particularly in Estonia. The range of speakers reached across the political spectrum from ultra-radical secessionists ready to fight in the streets to 38Ants Juske and Harri Liivrand, "Tallinna Kevad '88 ja Eesti Soltumatu Noortefoorum", Vikerkaar 10 (1988), pp. 58-62. 39Ibid. 51 conservative Komsomol officials. The final resolutions of the forum voiced full support for the principles outlined by the Council of Creative Unions and added several radical demands of their own. The final resolutions included calls for an end to state ownership of property, freedom for prisoners of conscience; multiparty elections, increased environmental vigilance and activism, complete control over public education by the ESSR, a freedom of information law that guaranteed public access to party, state government and KGB documents, and the complete elimination of censorship. The Estonian Komsomol daily Noorte Haal published the resolutions two weeks later after Karl Vaino resigned as Party Secretary and press freedom in Estonia took a quantum leap forward. The legacy of the EIYF, in the words of one forum organizer, was that "what was yesterday's radicalism is today's consensus." 4 0 The EIYF provided disaffected youth its first opportunity to openly participate in the reform process in an organized manner without official restrictions and to try and incorporate their ideas into the political mainstream. (D) The Estonian Greens Movement (EGM) The E G M grew out of a c o m b i n a t i o n of l i b e r a l i z e d p o l i t i c a l conditions and citizen concern over Moscow's disregard for local environmental conditions. Until the 40Ibid. See also T. Made, pp. 188-212. 52 advent of the "phosophorite war", Estonian anti-pollution legislation was usually overridden by all-Union industrial and agricultural ministries in Moscow. The lack of applied p o l l u t i o n c o n t r o l s s i n c e 1 9 4 4 had r e s u l t e d in t h e contamination of lakes, rivers and ground water that now threatened to become irreversible. On May 23, 1988 two thousand participants gathered at the founding congress of the EGM in T a l l i n n and d e c l a r e d themselves an i n d e p e n d e n t political organization dedicated to the prevention of an ecological catastrophe in Estonia. Delegates to the EGM congress stated that the time was ripe to join with Western Greens Movements and jointly demand the protection of mankind from its own greed. The EGM Appeal to the Estonian People said in part: We must rouse ourselves from the ever-i n c r e a s i n g m a n i a of p r o d u c t i o n and consumption, accompanied by the tyranny of bureaucratic and technocratic power ... Our natural resources and our fields are b e i n g u s e d in a r u i n o u s w a y ; t h e ecological crisis has assumed extreme dimensions; the Stalinist power structure h a s e r o d e d t h e p e o p l e ' s s e n s e of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and hampered the free development of the nation. 1 T h e p r i n c i p l e s a d o p t e d by the C o n g r e s s in its f i n a l resolutions included calls for: 4 1Tiit Made, "Green for Survival", Kodumaa (English Supplement), 22 June 1988, p. 2. 53 1) the reduction of Soviet military forces and the elimination of nuclear and chemical arsenals; 2) the promotion of "Green" education in the public schools; 3) free elections in which Greens may participate as candidates; 4) regional economic autonomy and bio-regionalism in the fight against the colonial practices of all-Union and local economic ministries; 5) p o l i t i c a l , economic, and cultural sovereignty for Estonia. The final resolution the EGM Congress stated that the Green Movement is based on democratic and radical citizen i n i t i a t i v e a i m e d at p r e v e n t i n g an ecological catastrophe, shaping a nature-friendly mode of life and eliminating the bureaucratic and technocratic power that is hostile to the natural environment.42 Founding delegate Velio Pohla stressed that the only way to save Estonia from ecological catastrophe is to promote Estonian ecological consciousness as a replacement for a rootless and identity-absent Soviet culture that cannot understand Estonian nationalism and ecological ethics. "At fault are not the immigrants and Moscow bureaucrats who uncomprehendingly represent an empty "Soviet" culture but the Estonian leadership for aiding and abetting the destruction of Estonian territory and its people — a crime against humanity. 22Ibid. 54 If we are to be successful, we must mobilize local and regional Green support groups; influence local politicians and administrators; meet with workers and their representatives; field candidates in local and national elections; and promote ecologically compatible living by example. The EGM is not only a plan of action; it is a philosophy and lifestyle."43 The EGM, in a formal appeal to the Estonian Supreme Soviet, the Council of Ministers and the ECP Central Committee on August 25th of 1988, outlined its proposals to protect E s t o n i a n s as an "endangered species." The EGM A p p e a l contained radical solutions to Estonia's immigration problems and included suggestions that banned the import of labour to Estonia save for specialists indispensable to the economy; that eliminated industrial development requiring imported labour; that amended housing legislation so that non-Estonian immigrants would no longer receive priority in apartment space over indigenous inhabitants; and that illegal aliens who do not meet residency requirements be deported from Estonian territory. In addition, only people who have resided in Estonia for at least 15 years should be eligible for leading posts in industries and government bodies so that local conditions are taken into full account.44 43Vello Pohla, "Roheline Rinne" (Green Front), Maa Leht, 2 June 1988, p. 12. " " G r e e n s A p p e a l to Parliament," Kodumaa (English Supplement), 25 August 198, pp. 1-2. 55 The aims and goals of the EGM were far-reaching and comprehensive in terms of politicizing the environment. They wanted to create a democratic and pluralistic political mechanism in Estonian society that guaranteed environmental awareness in political and economic decisions. The formation of the EGM was an attempt to radically remake Estonian political culture along philosophic lines that integrated environmental consciousness with everyday life to a greater degree than the EHS, the PF and the ENIP. (E) Internationalist Front Movement (IM) (Interdvizhenie) The exception to the orientation of the groups described above was the quasi-independent Internationalist Movement. The IM formed as a conservative opposition to the PF, the EHS and the ENIP and the new platform of the Estonian Communist Party. At their first public rally on July 19 of 1988, IM supporters openly condemned Estonian political developments as being overly "nationalist" and discriminatory against other Soviet peoples. Under banners that read "No to Nationalism," "We are all citizens of the USSR," and "Equality to all languages," speakers at the rally protested against two constitutional amendments proposed by the PF that would make Estonian the official language of the ESSR and grant Estonian 56 citizenship to those who were fluent in Estonian and have been Estonian residents for at least five years.45 To the rank and file of the IM, Estonians are anti-Soviet nationalists who are ungrateful for having been "liberated" from the Nazis. The Soviets saved them from Hitler and then brought industry, education, culture and material benefits to a backward and war-ravaged corner of Europe. Estonian demands for sovereignty and autonomy are a threat to the integrity and interests of ethnic Russian immigrants and an insult to the ideals that encompass the Soviet way of life.46 From the Estonian perspective the IM is composed of poorly educated and uninformed immigrant workers who have flooded into Estonia over the last decade to work in defense plants and other all-Union industries controlled through Moscow. They are colonists of the Soviet empire and have little or no appreciation for a highly developed Estonian culture that existed long before the Soviet Union. They are i l l i t e r a t e d u p e s e a s i l y m a n i p u l a t e d by the e n t e r p r i s e directors and bureaucrats they work under. Isolated from the indigenous culture, they live and work in enclave communities, "states within the state," where they have no need to speak E s t o n i a n . Their p o l i t i c a l s o c i a l i z a t i o n is a d i r e c t 45"Internationist Front: Aiming at Nationalist Divide?" Kodumaa (English Supplement), 27 July 1988, p. 2. 46Valdemar Pinar, "Miks Nad Nii Kaituvad?" (Why are they like that?), Sirp ja Vasar, 31 March 1989, p. 3. 57 inheritance from the legacies of Stalin and Brezhnev and their leadership represents what Indrek Toome, (Chairman of the Estonian Council of Ministers, or Prime Minister), described as the main impediment to glasnost and perestroika: the l a r g e l y u n d i m i n i s h e d d i c t a t o r i a l c o n t r o l by a i l - U n i o n M i n i s t r i e s and government department over economic policy w h i l e l o c a l i n t e r e s t s are i g n o r e d . Without allowing separate regions to run their own affairs perestroika will fail. W h a t w e s e e h e r e n o w is r e a l l y preposterous. In our own republic we are not allowed by law to set the price of movie tickets or change the recipe for loaves of bread at the bakery without permission from Moscow. This excessive and rigid centralization gives rise to anger .47 In summary, the PF and the IM represent opposite cultural and ideological poles. Estonian demands for autonomy and rapid d e m o c r a t i z a t i o n are a threat to the p o w e r s and privileges of the bureaucrats who control all-Union economic concerns in Moscow and the republics. Through skillful cultivation of underlying ethnic tension, the leaders of the IM have succeeded in placing Estonian reforms in a negative light in Moscow. The conflict between the PF and the IM is symptomatic of the problems of reform encountered throughout the Soviet Union. Glasnost and perestroika may be likened to a layer of fresh snow that covers the glacial mass of Soviet ""Estonia in the Mirror of Change," Kodumaa (English Supplement), 14 September 1988, pp. 1-2. 58 bureaucracy. The snow is malleable and in constant flux and movement, while the glacier remains hidden just below the surface, immobile and impenetrable. (F) Conclusions - Estonia in September 1988 The rise of the Popular Front and several independent alternative political groups signalled the arrival of a new political reality to Estonia where views divergent from the Party mainstream could now be expressed openly. The new p l u r a l i s m within the Estonian polity was, however, more apparent than real if we take the actual political power of the contending groups into account. In the absence of actual legislative authority and formal input into the everyday functions of the Estonian government, the expression of divergent political views by various groups became instead a sort of quasi-pluralism that reflected deeper political currents below the surface. According to Estonian political observer Rein Taagepera there are basically three political forces that, in the near future, will continue to fight for prominence in Estonia: Stalinists who wish to keep the Soviet empire intact, reform-minded centrists who want to achieve some form of increased state sovereignty for Estonia within a Soviet confederation, and restorationists who wish to re-59 establish the Republic of Estonia that existed before Soviet annexation.48 (i) The Internationalist Front (Interdvizhenie) is clearly Stalinist in orientation and composed mostly of Russian-speaking immigrant factory workers who fear losing their privileged status in Estonia if political changes continue. S k i l l f u l l y organized by local officials with help from Leningrad and Moscow, the IM also represents the power of the central m i n i s t r i e s in Moscow that control most of the Estonian economy. Their access to the press in Estonia is limited to a few small Russian-language publications but their i n f l u e n c e on the central press in Moscow appears to be considerably greater. Estonians have had to contend with a barrage of slanted articles, particularly from Pravda, that continually distort Estonian events so as to create the appearance that a full scale rebellion is in the making. While Estonian Stalinists lost control of the republic's top P a r t y l e a d e r s h i p after the fall of Vaino, they remain entrenched within the state bureaucracies. (ii) T h e r e s t o r a t i o n i s t s i n c l u d e the E N I P and y o u t h organizations that originated from the EIYF. According to these groups, the only way to escape treatment by Russians as second-class citizens in their own land is to achieve full « R e i n T a a g e p e r a , " E s t o n i a in S e p t e m b e r 1 9 8 8 : Stalinists, Centrists and Restorationists", JBS, Vol. XX, No. 3 (Fall 1989), p. 271. 60 territorial and political sovereignty. Exactly how this will be done remains unclear. Their effectiveness is limited because the mainstream press is closed to them due to the nature of their radical secessionist viewpoints. (iii)The centrists include most Estonian intellectuals, artists, p r o f e s s i o n a l s and some technocrats. The most prominent centrist organization is the Popular Front followed by the Estonian Heritage Society and the Greens. From January to August 1988, centrists gradually increased and consolidated their positions within the republic's Party and administrative l e a d e r s h i p . In S e p t e m b e r 1988, the PF was the only organization that had a specific reform program for economic and political decentralization. In addition, they claimed a significant number of ECP officials as members, which gave them inside access to government. The EHS and the Greens were more oriented toward public education. The EHS voiced support in p r i n c i p l e for the PF and c o n c e n t r a t e d on c u l t u r a l restoration instead of direct activism. While the Greens Movement leadership overlapped in part with that of the PF, they had no d e f i n i t e political proposals other than a commitment to "Green" education, the formation of a Nordic N u c l e a r W e a p o n s - F r e e Z o n e , and the i n t e n t to f i e l d ecologically-minded candidates in. future elections. The big advantage of the PF was its control of the press in co-operation with the ECP. No other group could match the PF in terms of the power to communicate its ideas and positions. 61 How They Viewed Each Other in 1988 Prom a Stalinist viewpoint the goals of the PF were i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e f r o m t h e s e p a r a t i s m o f t h e restorationists.49 Restorationists, on the other hand, viewed the PF as a creature of the ECP staffed by closet Stalinists. Both Stalinists and restorationists perceived the universe in simpler terms than the integrationist approach of the P F — it's "us" against "them". The key difference between the centrists and the Stalinists and restorationists was that Stalinists and restorationists had a clear grasp of their own goals. They aspired to something which had already existed, whereas the centrists were attempting to create something new and unknown in their drive for autonomy within the Soviet system. The PF, in turn, rejected both extremes of neo-Stalinism and secessionism. Their attitude was inclusive (who is not against us is with us), while the Stalinists and restorationists remained exclusionist (who is not with us is against us). In conclusion, the formation and development of the new political groups made possible by glasnost changed Estonian politics in three fundamental ways. Firstly, long simmering grievances between Estonians and non-Estonians rose to the s u r f a c e t h r o u g h p r e s s articles and speeches at p u b l i c meetings. Secondly, people became politically mobilized and 49Ibid., pp. 273-275. 62 aware. The new movements garnered the support of citizens who p r e v i o u s l y w e r e e i t h e r a p a t h e t i c or j o i n e d p u b l i c organizations strictly for career motives. The newly expanded boundaries of dissent now meant that private thoughts could be made public; something citizens felt strongly compelled to do after years of repression. The third change was the most f u n d a m e n t a l and involved the twin issues of p o l i t i c a l legitimacy and public accountability. Citizens could now publicly question the right of the ECP to govern in its existing form and with its existing personnel. To openly question the principle of the leading role of the ECP and the CPSU was still risky but there was little to hinder citizens from publicly demanding that Party officials be accountable and responsible to local Estonian interests. One of the primary functions of the PF became its role as a reformist political watchdog over party affairs. Political officials suddenly had to make sure that their acceptance by those over who they governed was based on real communication and consent (at least in appearance anyway) rather than on the pretended legitimacy of past governments. Karl Vaino's retirement was, in essence, a product of popular discontent and a direct result of his inability to acclimatize himself to the new political atmosphere. 63 I V . THE NEW ECP PLATFORM - SEPTEMBER 1988 The new F i r s t S e c r e t a r y , Vaino V a l j a s , i n h e r i t e d a p a r t y o r g a n i z a t i o n i n d i s a r r a y and l a c k i n g i n a u t h o r i t y . The ECP l e a d e r s h i p was no longer S t a l i n i s t but could not yet be c a l l e d c e n t r i s t e i t h e r . The per iod between the f a l l of Vaino i n June and the ECP C e n t r a l Committee Plenum on September 9 became an interregnum during which V a l j a s kept a low p r o f i l e and q u i e t l y worked a t d e v i s i n g a new p a r t y p latform. Moscow's s t r a t e g y i n a c c e p t i n g t h e c a n d i d a c y of V a l j a s t o t h e j o b o f F i r s t S e c r e t a r y was to promote someone who was reform-minded and a t the same time c u l t u r a l l y acceptable to the E s t o n i a n - s p e a k i n g p o p u l a t i o n . V a l j a s was a l r e a d y expected to r e c e i v e the post during the 1 9 7 0 ' s but l o s t out to Yestonian c a n d i d a t e s who had more powerful a l l i e s . Sent to p o l i t i c a l e x i l e as ambassador to N i c a r a g u a , V a l j a s now returned to assume h i s p o s i t i o n as the f i r s t homegrown E s t o n i a n t o r u l e t h e ECP s i n c e S o v i e t annexat ion. Although V a l j a s was a committed career P a r t y member, h i s p e r s o n a l s y m p a t h i e s were s t r i c t l y E s t o n i a n . He s c o r e d v a l u a b l e p o i n t s i n p u b l i c r e l a t i o n s by changing the pr imary l a n g u a g e s p o k e n a t ECP b u r e a u m e e t i n g s from R u s s i a n t o E s t o n i a n . At the CPSU conference i n Moscow on June 28, 1 9 8 8 , V a l j a s appeared on t e l e v i s i o n wearing a t i e made from the E s t o n i a n n a t i o n a l c o l o u r s which only a week e a r l i e r had s t i l l been o f f i c i a l l y i l l e g a l . V a l j a s ' p o l i t i c a l s t r a t e g y was, t h a t u n l e s s the ECP kept up w i t h the p o l i t i c a l developments of 64 competing groups i n E s t o n i a , the ECP would become a c a r e - t a k e r o r g a n i z a t i o n i n a p o l i t i c a l p r o c e s s that i t was no longer a m e a n i n g f u l p a r t o f . V a l j a s understood t h a t u n l e s s the ECP earned support i n the p u b l i c arena, i t could no longer govern e f f e c t i v e l y . R u l e by d e c r e e was no l o n g e r a c c e p t a b l e or p o s s i b l e . The ECP would have to become c e n t r i s t for the P a r t y to s u r v i v e , and r a d i c a l reformist for E s t o n i a to s u r v i v e . By t h e t i m e of t h e PF C o n g r e s s i n O c t o b e r , 1 9 8 8 , t h e ECP l e a d e r s h i p and the PF were v i r t u a l l y i n d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e . The p l a t f o r m submitted at the XIX CPSU Conference by the E s t o n i a n d e l e g a t i o n was r a d i c a l i n scope and gave a h i n t of the f u t u r e d i r e c t i o n of the ECP. I t s key p o i n t s were d e r i v e d from the r e s o l u t i o n s adopted by the Popular Front and aimed a t d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n and r e g i o n a l autonomy for S o v i e t r e p u b l i c s as o u t l i n e d i n the Soviet C o n s t i t u t i o n . The E s t o n i a n d e l e g a t i o n was reported to be the only one with a d e m o c r a t i c a l l y formed p l a t f o r m and a t t r a c t e d great i n t e r e s t among p a r t i c i p a n t s and Western observers at the conference. Vaino V a l j a s ' conference a d d r e s s enhanced h i s own p r e s t i g e but d i d l i t t l e to r e s t o r e ECP c r e d i b i l i t y a t home i n E s t o n i a u n t i l the ECP CC plenum of September 9th. The ECP IX Plenum of September 9th and 1 0 t h g e n e r a t e d i n t e n s e i n t e r e s t t h r o u g h o u t E s t o n i a b e c a u s e o f t h e unprecedented nature of the plenum report d e l i v e r e d by Vaino V a l j a s . The new F i r s t S e c r e t a r y ' s speech s i g n a l l e d a major s h i f t i n p a r t y p o l i c y . P o s i t i o n s p r e v i o u s l y a r t i c u l a t e d only 65 by f r i n g e groups and the PF now became p a r t of the f o r m a l ECP p l a t f o r m . The plenum r e p o r t was a d i r e c t r e v e r s a l of p a r t y p o l i c y u n d e r K a r l V a i n o and d e t a i l e d sweeping r e f o r m s i n v i r t u a l l y a l l a s p e c t s of E s t o n i a n p o l i t i c s . The new agenda condemned Moscow's dominance o v e r r e g i o n a l e c o n o m i c s and S o v i e t c e n t r a l i z a t i o n i n p a r t i c u l a r : Our f u t u r e c o o p e r a t i o n w i t h o t h e r S o v i e t r e p u b l i c s must l e a d to the c r e a t i o n of a union of t r u l y f r e e n a t i o n s and put an end to o v e r c e n t r a l i z a t i o n t h a t i g n o r e s t h e c o n s t i t u t i o n a l b a s i s of t h i s c o u n t r y . . . [The] e c o n o m i c a l l y u n j u s t i f i e d r e l a t i o n s w i t h a l l - U n i o n departments and m i n i s t r i e s d i s r u p t t h e p r o v i s i o n of t h e E s t o n i a n p o p u l a t i o n w i t h l o c a l f o o d s t u f f s a n d consumer g o o d s . I t i s not normal t h a t what we produce i s a r b i t r a r i l y d i s t r i b u t e d a c r o s s the S o v i e t Union without c o n s u l t i n g u s . " 5 0 V a l j a s o p e n l y s u p p o r t e d t h e c o n c e p t o f r e p u b l i c a n economic self-management i n t r o d u c e d i n September of 1987 by four E s t o n i a n i n t e l l e c t u a l s from the ECP: S i i m K a l l a s , T i i t Made, Edgar S a v i s a a r and Mikk T i t m a . The IME p l a n ( i . e . , independently managed E s t o n i a ) was based on r e s t r u c t u r i n g the E s t o n i a n economy along t e r r i t o r i a l l i n e s . The E s t o n i a n SSR w o u l d h a v e j u r i s d i c t i o n o v e r l a b o u r , raw m a t e r i a l s and i n d u s t r i a l e n t e r p r i s e s and would i n c l u d e j u r i s d i c t i o n o v e r transportation, power g r i d s , . a n d a l l o t h e r a l l - U n i o n e n t e r p r i s e s c u r r e n t l y i n E s t o n i a . The economy would be 5 0 V a i n o V a l j a s , "ECP P l e n u m R e p o r t , " K o d u m a a , 1 4 September 1988, p . 4 . 66 r e s t r u c t u r e d t o r e f l e c t l o c a l c u l t u r a l and d e m o g r a p h i c r e a l i t i e s . The emphasis would be on the a v o i d a n c e of the c o l o s s a l S o v i e t megaprojects of the past that brought unwanted immigrants and environmental d e t e r i o r a t i o n to E s t o n i a . Trade r e l a t i o n s with the r e s t of the USSR would be the same as w i t h o t h e r n a t i o n s , i . e . , on a market b a s i s and i n c o n t r a c t u a l r e l a t i o n s b e t w e e n p r o d u c e r s and c u s t o m e r s . E s t o n i a n e n t e r p r i s e s would be i n d e p e n d e n t , s e l f - f i n a n c e d and s e l f -managed a d m i n i s t r a t i v e e n t i t i e s that operate on a p r o f i t and l o s s b a s i s . Within the a l l - U n i o n economy, E s t o n i a would be an i n d e p e n d e n t economic u n i t t h a t c o n t r i b u t e s to the S o v i e t budget i n hard currency revenues and monetary t r a n s f e r s i n the form of c o n v e r t i b l e r u b l e s or other i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y accepted u n i t s of exchange. 5 1 When the IME p l a n was f i r s t u n v e i l e d i t was condemned by the K a r l Vaino regime as "over ly n a t i o n a l i s t " and the p l a n ' s authors were p u b l i c l y censured. Vaino V a l j a s , the new f i r s t s e c r e t a r y , now o f f i c i a l l y endorsed the p l a n and r e v e a l e d a t t h e ECP plenum t h a t the p r o p o s a l s c o n c e r n i n g economic s o v e r e i g n t y made by E s t o n i a ' s d e l e g a t e s at the 1 9 t h CPSU P a r t y Conference i n J u l y had m a t e r i a l i z e d i n the form of c o n c r e t e a c t i o n by the c e n t r a l government i n Moscow. The S o v i e t C o u n c i l of M i n i s t e r s announced the f o r m a t i o n of a 5 1 S. K a l l a s , T . Made, E. S a v i s a a r and M. Titma, "Proposal f o r a S e l f - M a n a g e d E s t o n i a n Economy," EDASI , 26 September 1 9 8 7 , p . 3 . 67 s p e c i a l commission to oversee the economic c o n v e r s i o n p r o c e s s i n c o n s u l t a t i o n with the government of E s t o n i a . 5 2 The most r a d i c a l d e p a r t u r e s from p r e v i o u s p a r t y p o l i c y i n v o l v e d n a t i o n a l i t y r e l a t i o n s and E s t o n i a ' s new- p o l i t i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Moscow. V a l j a s r e p e a t e d l y used the term " s o v e r e i g n t y " to d e s c r i b e the new s t a t e of a f f a i r s : For decades our people have not been so p o l i t i c a l l y a c t i v e as today. The a b s o l u t e m a j o r i t y of the people are of the o p i n i o n t h a t s o l u t i o n s to our complex s i t u a t i o n can o n l y be a c h i e v e d by the independence of the ESSR, the r e s t o r a t i o n of E s t o n i a ' s s o v e r e i g n t y i n d e c i d i n g our f u t u r e , and the c r e a t i o n of c o n d i t i o n s of s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y u n d e r w h i c h everyone can prosper without i n t e r f e r e n c e . . . [We] have to p i c t u r e o u r s e l v e s as a n a t i o n who l i v e s i n a f e d e r a t i o n o f sovereign s t a t e s , the Soviet Union. 5 3 V a l j a s added that the quest ion of the f u t u r e of the E s t o n i a n people and i t s c u l t u r e was of paramount importance: I n t e r e t h n i c r e l a t i o n s have become tense i n E s t o n i a a n d t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r s o l u t i o n s must r e s t with the p a r t y . The p a r t y has t h r e e f u n d a m e n t a l p r i n c i p l e s w h i c h w i l l g u i d e u s i n t h i s a r e a . F i r s t l y , the ESSR i s a sovereign n a t i o n a l s t a t e and E s t o n i a n s a r e i t s i n d i g e n o u s i n h a b i t a n t s . T h i s means t h a t no l a r g e -s c a l e s o c i o - e c o n o m i c p r o j e c t s c a n be undertaken that ignore the n a t i o n a l e t h n i c c o n s e q u e n c e s f o r E s t o n i a n s . E s t o n i a n s cannot be allowed to become a m i n o r i t y i n t h e i r own l a n d nor c a n t h e E s t o n i a n " V a l j a s , Kodumaa, 14 September 1988, p. 3 . " I b i d . 68 language be r e s t r i c t e d or l i m i t e d i n any way as the language of p u b l i c d i s c o u r s e i n E s t o n i a . S e c o n d l y , t h e E s t o n i a n S S R ' s membership i n the S o v i e t Union should be based on equal cooperat ion and normalized r e l a t i o n s with a l l f o r e i g n s t a t e s . T h i s c o o p e r a t i o n s h o u l d be g u a r a n t e e d by an a l l - U n i o n t r e a t y o f f e d e r a t i o n t h a t c l e a r l y e s t a b l i s h e s the r i g h t s , o b l i g a -t i o n s a n d s o v e r e i g n t y of a l l S o v i e t r e p u b l i c s . T h i r d l y , a l l c i t i z e n s of E s t o n i a s h o u l d have the r i g h t and chance to use t h e i r own l a n g u a g e i n o f f i c i a l d e a l i n g s w i t h government a g e n c i e s — not j u s t R u s s i a n . We recommend t h a t E s t o n i a n become t h e s t a t e language of E s t o n i a . . . The ECP CC and Buro c o n s i d e r the e s t a b l i s h m e n t and i n s t i t u t i o n o f a n E S S R c i t i z e n s h i p e s s e n t i a l f o r the p r e s e r v a t i o n of t h e E s t o n i a n h e r i t a g e , c u l t u r e a n d s o v e r e i g n t y . 5 4 I n summary, V a l j a s attempted to address the fundamental problem of how to c o n s t r u c t a p o l i t i c a l mechanism t h a t c o u l d r e s t r i c t immigration, wrest economic c o n t r o l from the c e n t r a l m i n i s t r i e s i n Moscow, and gain p o l i t i c a l c o n t r o l over E s t o n i a n t e r r i t o r y . I d e a l l y , t h i s m e c h a n i s m would be b a s e d on c o n s t i t u t i o n a l guarantees and the r u l e of law. R e p u b l i c a n c i t i z e n s h i p and language laws would be used to curb the i n f l u x of immigrants and thereby h a l t the c u l t u r a l and demographic d e c l i n e t h a t t h r e a t e n s the f u t u r e of the E s t o n i a n n a t i o n . T h i s was a dramatic s h i f t i n p a r t y p o l i c y that a year e a r l i e r would have been i m p o s s i b l e . The K a r l Vaino regime was t o t a l l y 22Ibid. 69 committed to i n d u s t r i a l expansion and c u l t u r a l R u s s i f i c a t i o n . Vaino spoke E s t o n i a n poorly as d i d h i s c i r c l e of a d v i s o r s and s u p p o r t e r s . The l e a d e r s h i p of the ECP was c u l t u r a l l y i s o l a t e d from the E s t o n i a n - s p e a k i n g e l e c t o r a t e and had l i t t l e i n t e r e s t i n p r o v i d i n g p o l i t i c a l and c u l t u r a l concess ions to l o c a l s . By September of 1 9 8 8 , however, the c o n s e n s u s had s h i f t e d 180 degrees where n a t i o n a l i t y i s s u e s were concerned. P o s i t i o n s t h a t only a year e a r l i e r would have netted a p r i s o n sentence were now the norm i n p a r t y c i r c l e s . The u n p r e c e d e n t e d changes i n p a r t y p l a t f o r m at the I X Plenum of the ECP a l s o broke new ground i n terms of governing s t y l e . The plenum report v e r b a l l y d e l i v e r e d by V a l j a s was the f i r s t ever g i v e n i n E s t o n i a n and the f i r s t to be b r o a d c a s t over p u b l i c r a d i o . The plenum r e s u l t s were the f i r s t to be c a n d i d l y p r e s e n t e d a t a p r e s s c o n f e r e n c e f o r f o r e i g n and Western j o u r n a l i s t s . Perhaps most importantly of a l l , the ECP IX Plenum was the f i r s t party event of i t s type i n E s t o n i a to a c t u a l l y respond to p u b l i c c r i t i c i s m and p r e s s u r e "from below" i n a meaningful way. The p u b l i c ' s r e a c t i o n to the l o n g - a w a i t e d new p l a t f o r m came the day a f t e r the plenum a t a huge outdoor r a l l y i n T a l l i n n . Sponsored by the Popular Front the r a l l y drew over 300,000 p a r t i c i p a n t s i n a f e s t i v e show of n a t i o n a l s o l i d a r i t y i n support of reform. Dubbed the " S i n g i n g R e v o l u t i o n " , the September r a l l y produced an outpouring of p o l i t i c a l f e r v o u r and emotion t h a t s e n t a c l e a r message to Moscow of where 70 E s t o n i a n s s t o o d and l a i d t h e groundwork f o r t h e f o u n d i n g c o n g r e s s of the Popular Front i n October. V. THE POPULAR FRONT CONGRESS - OCTOBER 1-2, 1988 The i n a u g u r a l congress of the PF drew 3 0 7 1 d e l e g a t e s from a l l walks of E s t o n i a n l i f e who r e p r e s n t e d over 1 0 0 , 0 0 0 members and 1 , 7 0 0 support groups throughout the ESSR. Of the t o t a l , 95% were E s t o n i a n and 22% were ECP members. The c o n g r e s s a t t r a c t e d over 300 j o u r n a l i s t s i n c l u d i n g 50 from the S o v i e t Union, 1 5 0 from E s t o n i a and 100 from Western Europe and North America . With a t o t a l of more than 50 speakers the range of d e b a t e c r o s s e d t h e r a n g e of p o l i t i c a l o p i n i o n from a r c h -c o n s e r v a t i v e s t o a d v o c a t e s of t o t a l independence. B e g i n n i n g w i t h and i n c l u d i n g ECP F i r s t S e c r e t a r y V a i n o V a l j a s , t h e m a j o r i t y o f s p e a k e r s s t r e s s e d t h e need t o e s t a b l i s h t h e p o l i t i c a l m a c h i n e r y n e c e s s a r y f o r t h e r e a l i z a t i o n o f d e m o c r a t i z a t i o n , economic and c u l t u r a l autonomy and p o l i t i c a l s o v e r e i g n t y i n E s t o n i a . For the C o n g r e s s d e l e g a t e s , t h e a d o p t i o n i n p r i n c i p l e of t h e PF p l a t f o r m by t h e ECP i n September s i g n a l l e d the a r r i v a l of a new p o l i t i c a l r e a l i t y i n E s t o n i a i n the wake of the r e v o l u t i o n a r y events of the p a s t s p r i n g and summer. The purpose of the PF Congress was to g i v e the " s i n g i n g r e v o l u t i o n " a sense of d i r e c t i o n and to d e v i s e 71 the s t r a t e g y and t a c t i c s to continue on the path to p o l i t i c a l and economic autonomy.55 At the second and f i n a l s e s s i o n on October 2 the Congress a d o p t e d t h e PF C h a r t e r , G e n e r a l Program and t w e n t y - t h r e e r e s o l u t i o n s for future a c t i o n that o u t l i n e d a p l a t f o r m s i m i l a r i n s u b s t a n c e to the o r i g i n a l p l a t f o r m of A p r i l 1 9 8 8 . The d o c u m e n t s d e t a i l e d a common p o s i t i o n on t h e p o l i t i c a l s t r u c t u r e of the PF, i n t e r e t h n i c r e l a t i o n s and i m m i g r a t i o n , d e m o c r a t i z a t i o n of the e l e c t o r a l system, the r o l e of the PF i n E s t o n i a n p o i t i c s , the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and amendments to the E s t o n i a n C o n s t i t u t i o n . The d i f f e r e n c e between the O c t o b e r C o n g r e s s and the PF i n A p r i l was t h a t i n s t e a d of a b s t r a c t suggest ions for a p l a n of a c t i o n , the PF p l a t f o r m now represented the o f f i c i a l program of the p o l i t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n t h a t c o n t r o l l e d the d i r e c t i o n of E s t o n i a n p o l i t i c s . The C o n g r e s s t h e r e f o r e h e l d great symbol ic v a l u e ; f o r C o n g r e s s observers and p a r t i c i p a n t s a l i k e the event was a m i l e s t o n e i n the war a g a i n s t S t a l i n i s m and a v i c t o r y over the f o r c e s of p o l i t i c a l c o n s e r v a t i s m . Of p a r t i c u l a r symbolic s i g n i f i c a n c e was t h e f a c t t h a t t h e P F , by t h i s t i m e , had a l a r g e r membership than the ECP.5 6 The Congress d e l e g a t e s e l e c t e d a seven member e x e c u t i v e board to oversee the d a i l y a c t i v i t i e s of the PF. The b o a r d ' s 5 5 J . Nomm and A. O t t e n s o n , Rahva K o n g r e s s ( T a l l i n n , E e s t i : K i r j a n d u s " P e r i o d i k a " , 1 9 8 8 ) , pp. 1 6 4 - 2 0 5 . " I b i d . 72 f i r s t f u n c t i o n was to s u p e r v i s e the d r a f t i n g of C o n s t i t u t i o n a l l e g i s l a t i o n on the s t a t u s of the E s t o n i a n language, r e p u b l i c a n c i t i z e n s h i p and economic s e l f - m a n a g e m e n t . The amendments i n c l u d e d p r o v i s i o n s for the n e g o t i a t i o n of a new' T r e a t y of U n i o n w i t h i n t h e f r a m e w o r k o f t h e e x i s t i n g S o v i e t C o n s t i t u t i o n , a t r e a t y which would r e - e s t a b l i s h r e p u b l i c a n s o v e r e i g n t y i n the framework of S o v i e t f e d e r a l i s m f i r s t e n v i s i o n e d by L e n i n . " S o v e r e i g n t y " under L e n i n meant the power of r e p u b l i c a n governments to decide a l l i n t e r n a l m a t t e r s independent of o u t s i d e ( i . e . , e x t r a - t e r r i t o r i a l ) i n f l u e n c e or i n t e r f e r e n c e . The legacy of L e n i n ' s successor S t a l i n was to d i s t o r t the meaning of the terms " s o v e r e i g n t y " , "democracy" and " s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n of p e o p l e s " beyond r e c o g n i t i o n and s t i l l c l a i m to f o l l o w the " L e n i n i s t path" toward f e d e r a l i s t democracy. The e f f e c t of S t a l i n ' s c o n t r i b u t i o n was the exact opposite of L e n i n ' s o r i g i n a l p l a n : the c o n s t i t u e n t r e p u b l i c s became t h e d e p e n d e c i e s and a d m i n i s t r a t i v e s u b - u n i t s of a c e n t r a l i z e d governing system.5 7 The ambition of the PF was to r e s t o r e the p r e - S t a l i n i s t meaning of the term " s o v e r e i g n t y " and a c h i e v e p o l i t i c a l i n d e p e n d e n c e w i t h r e s p e c t t o a l l a c t i v i t i e s w i t h i n Estonian borders excepting n a t i o n a l defence and f o r e i g n p o l i c y . The PF congress thereby s e t the stage for " G e o r g e S c h o p f l i n , "Gorbachev, Romania and L e n i n i s t N a t i o n a l i t i e s P o l i c y , " R a d i o F r e e E u r o p e R e s e a r c h , RAD Background Report 96, June 1 2 , 1987. 73 the " C o n s t i t u t i o n a l c r i s i s " t h a t developed a t the November 29 s e s s i o n of the USSR Supreme S o v i e t i n Moscow. VI. ESTONIAN SOVEREIGNTY AND THE SOVIET CONSTITUTIONAL IMPASSE E s t o n i a ' s c o n s t i t u t i o n a l c o l l i s i o n c o u r s e w i t h Moscow developed over proposed changes to the S o v i e t e l e c t o r a l system and c o n s t i t u t i o n t h a t were to be r a t i f i e d by t h e Supreme S o v i e t of the USSR on November 29. According to the proposed amendments, supreme l e g i s l a t i v e a u t h o r i t y would be v e s t e d i n the Congress of P e o p l e s ' Deput ies to be p o p u l a r l y e l e c t e d i n March, 1 9 8 9 . C r i t i c s of the p l a n i n E s t o n i a and the B a l t i c p r o t e s t e d t h a t the r e p u b l i c s had not been c o n s u l t e d over the d r a f t i n g of sweeping changes t o the S o v i e t p o l i t i c a l system and t h a t E s t o n i a n p l a n s for economic self-management were now i n j e o p a r d y . D e t a i l s of the amendments were f i r s t p u b l i s h e d i n t h e S o v i e t c e n t r a l p r e s s o n l y on O c t o b e r 22 l e a v i n g i n s u f f i c i e n t t i m e f o r t h e r e p u b l i c s t o p r e p a r e a l t e r n a t i v e l e g i s l a t i o n . 5 8 E s t o n i a ' s c o m p l a i n t s focused on the n u m e r i c a l c o m p o s i t i o n of the Congress and the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l powers a l l o t t e d to the new body by t h e p r o p o s e d c h a n g e s . I n terms o f n u m e r i c a l c o m p o s i t i o n the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of most c o n s t i t u e n t r e p u b l i c s would be reduced. Under the o l d system, for example, E s t o n i a 5 8 A r v e d J u r g e n s o n , " S t o r m i n t h e M a k i n g , " Kodumaa ( E n g l i s h Supplement), 9 November 1988, p . 2 1 . 74 had 36 d e p u t i e s i n the Supreme S o v i e t of the USSR out of a t o t a l of 1 5 0 0 ( i e . 2 . 4 % ) . I n the new C o n g r e s s E s t o n i a ' s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of 40 deputies out of 2250 would be 1 . 8 % of the t o t a l . 5 9 The n u m e r i c a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e R u s s i a n F e d e r a t i o n , h o w e v e r , would i n c r e a s e due t o t h e complex e l e c t o r a l process of the new Congress. One t h i r d (750) of the members of t h e C o n g r e s s would be e l e c t e d from e l e c t o r a l d i s t r i c t s based on p o p u l a t i o n d i s t r i b u t i o n , and the R u s s i a n F e d e r a t i o n , being the most populous r e p u b l i c , would g a i n an edge over the o t h e r s i n members s e n t to the C o n g r e s s . A second group of 750 members would be e l e c t e d i n n a t i o n a l -t e r r i t o r i a l e l e c t o r a l d i s t r i c t s : 32 from e a c h S o v i e t r e p u b l i c ; 1 1 from e a c h autonomous r e p u b l i c ; 5 from e a c h autonomous o o b l a s t ; and 1 from each autonomous r e g i o n . The R u s s i a n F e d e r a t i o n a g a i n would have the edge i n terms of t e r r i t o r i a l e l e c t o r a l d i s t r i c t s w i t h i n i t s borders . The t h i r d and f i n a l group of 750 d e p u t i e s would be e l e c t e d i n d i r e c t l y through v a r i o u s a i l - U n i o n o r g a n i z a t i o n s that i n c l u d e the CPSU, Komsomol, t r a d e u n i o n s , work c o l l e c t i v e s , war v e t e r a n s , and p r o f e s s i o n a l a s s o c i a t e s . 6 0 Most a l l - U n i o n o r g a n i z a t i o n s a r e based i n Moscow, which again would g ive the R u s s i a n F e d e r a t i o n a c e r t a i n i n f l u e n t i a l advantage w i t h i n the new Congress , and 5 9 I b i d . 6 0 N o u k o g u d e S o t s i a l i s t l i k e V a b a r i i k i d e L i i d u K o n s t i t u t s i o o n (The USSR C o n s t i t u t i o n ) , T a l l i n n : E e s t i Raamat 1989, pp. 3 2 - 3 3 . A r t i c l e s 109, 1 1 0 , 1 1 1 . 75 the i n c l u s i o n of these o r g a n i z a t i o n s i n the e l e c t o r a l scheme would e f f e c t i v e l y e x c l u d e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of o r g a n i z a t i o n s which are not a l l - U n i o n i n c h a r a c t e r such as the PF. The main problems with the new e l e c t o r a l p l a n , a c c o r d i n g bo c r i t i c s , were the e l e c t i o n of the P r e s i d e n t and the working p a r l i a m e n t from the ranks of the u n d e m o c r a t i c a l l y e l e c t e d Congress . I n a d d i t i o n , c o n s e r v a t i v e and c h a u v i n i s t f o r c e s from w i t h i n the b u r e a u c r a c i e s of a l l - O n i o n o r g a n i z a t i o n s would e x e r t a n overwhelming i n f l u e n c e i n the new p a r l i a m e n t . 6 1 S e r i o u s concerns over the new l e g i s l a t i o n a l s o i n v o l v e d the wording of the c o n s t i t u t i o n with regard to the powers of the new C o n g r e s s . I n the view of E s t o n i a n l e g a l e x p e r t s , under a r t i c l e s 73 and 1 1 3 , the new Congress and P a r l i a m e n t would have i n o r d i n a t e powers over the i n t e r n a l a f f a i r s of the r e p u b l i c s . Not only would the Congress and the Supreme S o v i e t have the r i g h t to determine r e p u b l i c a n s o c i a l and economic p o l i c y , they would be v e s t e d with the supreme r i g h t , under a r t i c l e s 73 and 1 0 8 , to d e c i d e m a t t e r s t h a t c o n c e r n t h e c o m p o s i t i o n of the S o v i e t Union, and matters of " a l l - U n i o n importance. 1 , 6 2 6 1 Jurgenson, 9 November, 1 9 8 8 , . p . 2. " A l b e r t P a l t s e r , " M o n i n g a i d M o t t e i d NSV L i i d u K o n s t i t u t s i o o n i M u u t m i s e s t j a E e s t i NSV O i g u s l i k u s t S e i s u n d i s t " (Thoughts on S o v i e t C o n s t i t u t i o n a l changes and E s t o n i a ' s Legal P o s i t i o n ) , Kodumaa, 16 November 1988, pp. 3 & 7 . 76 E s t o n i a n l e g a l e x p e r t s m a i n t a i n e d t h e a b o v e - n a m e d a r t i c l e s ( 7 3 , 108 and 1 1 3 ) of the new C o n s t i t u t i o n c o n t r a d i c t and run counter to a r t i c l e s i n the e x i s t i n g C o n s t i t u t i o n : 1 ) A l l S o v i e t r e p u b l i c s have the r i g h t to f r e e l y secede from the Soviet Union ( 7 2 ) ; 2) The r e p u b l i c s are sovereign s o c i a l i s t s t a t e s ( 7 6 ) ; 3) The b o r d e r of the r e p u b l i c s may not be c h a n g e d without t h e i r approval ; 4) The sovereign r i g h t s of the r e p u b l i c s are under the p r o t e c t i o n of the Soviet Union. The new Supreme Soviet would, i n a d d i t i o n , under a r t i c l e 1 1 9 be empowered to d e c l a r e a s t a t e of emergency or s t a t e of war i n any of the r e p u b l i c s and, i f n e c e s s a r y , e s t a b l i s h temporary " s p e c i a l f o r c e s " of government.63 I n p r o t e s t , the Estonian Popular Front sent the f o l l o w i n g telegram to M i k h a i l Gorbachev: The C o u n c i l of Delegates of the E s t o n i a n Popular Front f i n d s that the d r a f t laws on t h e c o n s t i t u t i o n p r e s e n t e d f o r g e n e r a l p u b l i c d i s c u s s i o n on c h a n g e s a n d amendments to the USSR C o n s t i t u t i o n and the e l e c t i o n of peoples' delegates do not meet the e x p e c t a t i o n s of the c i t i z e n s of our r e p u b l i c . These d r a f t [ laws] a r e a s t e p b a c k w a r d i n t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f democracy. The fundamental ideas of the d r a f t laws a r e not i n keeping w i t h the c o u r s e g u a r a n t e e d by the r e s o l u t i o n s of t h e 1 9 t h a l l - u n i o n p a r t y c o n f e r e n c e r e g a r d i n g the i n c r e a s e of the r i g h t s of the union r e p u b l i c s . They a r e , r a t h e r , to 22Ibid. 77 the c o n t r a r y and move i n such d i r e c t i o n that the union r e p u b l i c s would l o s e t h e i r c o n s t i t u t i o n a l l y [guaranteed] s o v e r e i g n t y . As t h e d e v e l o p m e n t of g e n e r a l p u b l i c d i s c u s s i o n shows, the people of the ESSR do not wish to a c c e p t the l o s s of t h e i r a c t u a l statehood. T h e n a t u r e o f t h e c h a n g e s a n d t h e supplementary amendments under d i s c u s s i o n h a v e evoked a s t r o n g p r o t e s t from t h e p u b l i c . The acceptance [of the changes] w o u l d u n d o u b t e d l y h a v e u n f o r e s e e n consequences for the strengthening of the u n i t y of the USSR, for perestroika, and f o r t h e g r o w t h o f d e m o c r a c y i n o u r c o u n t r y . The C o u n c i l of D e l e g a t e s of the E s t o n i a n P o p u l a r F r o n t t h e r e f o r e p r o p o s e s t h a t t h e s e d r a f t laws be removed from p u b l i c d i s c u s s i o n and removed from the agenda of the USSR Supreme S o v i e t . We propose the f o r m a t i o n o f a s t a t e c o n s t i t u t i o n a l commission c o n s i s t i n g of r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of the r e p u b l i c s i n order to put together new p r o p o s a l s f o r c o n s t i t u t i o n a l amendments that would be i n keeping with the fundamentals of perestroika. C o u n c i l of Delegates of the E s t o n i a n Popular Front 29 October 19886 4 The PF t e l e g r a m expressed a widespread sentiment i n E s t o n i a t h a t people d e s i r e d to accept l i t e r a l l y Gorbachev's promises of d e m o c r a t i z a t i o n , d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n , and r u l e of law and t h a t E s t o n i a ' s economic independence and p o l i t i c a l s o v e r e i g n t y should be achieved through l e g a l and c o n s t i t u t i o n a l means, not by p o l i t i c a l v i o l e n c e or u p h e a v a l . 6 5 On November 9 an 6 4 T o o m a s , l i v e s , " E s t o n i a n P o p u l a r F r o n t P r o t e s t s P r o p o s e d C h a n g e s t o S o v i e t C o n s t i t u t i o n " , B a l t i c A r e a S i t u a t i o n Report 1 3 , 22 November 1988, p. 4. 5 5Jurgenson, 9 November 1988, p. 1 . 78 E s t o n i a n d e l e g a t i o n of prominent ECP f u n c t i o n a r i e s and PF l e a d e r s , i n c l u d i n g P r e s i d e n t Arnold R u u t e l , Marju L a u r i s t i n and Edgar S a v i s a a r , a t t e n d e d a s e s s i o n of the l e g i s l a t i v e d r a f t i n g committee of the S o v i e t P a r l i a m e n t i n Moscow and p r e s e n t e d t h e E s t o n i a n p o s i t i o n on the new c o n s t i t u t i o n . S o v i e t V i c e - P r e s i d e n t A n a t o l i Lukjanov expressed sympathy for t h e i r p o i n t s a n d p r o m i s e d t h a t a l l c r i t i c i s m w o u l d be s e r i o u s l y taken i n t o account. The d e l e g a t e s ' v i s i t to Moscow was i m m e d i a t e l y f o l l o w e d by a P o l i t b u r o meeting where CPSU C e n t r a l Committee S e c r e t a r y V i k t o r C h e b r i k o v s t a t e d t h a t proposed amendments d e a l i n g with the r i g h t s of the r e p u b l i c s a n d t h e i r r e l a t i o n s w i t h c e n t r a l a u t h o r i t i e s w o u l d be withdrawn from d i s c u s s i o n u n t i l a d e c i s i o n on the t o p i c c o u l d be made by the New C o n g r e s s of P e o p l e s ' D e p u t i e s i n t h e s p r i n g . 6 5 D u r i n g a v i s i t t o E s t o n i a a few d a y s l a t e r , Chebrikov v o i c e d support for the platform presented a t the X I Plenum of t h e ECP C e n t r a l Committee i n September t h e r e b y g i v i n g h i g h l e v e l a p p r o v a l to p l a n s for i n c r e a s e d E s t o n i a n independence.6 7 I n t h e e v e n t t h a t any d o u b t s e x i s t e d o v e r E s t o n i a n i n t e n t i o n s toward the upcoming Congress of Peoples ' D e p u t i e s , the ESSR Supreme Soviet held a s p e c i a l , e x t r a o r d i n a r y s e s s i o n 6 6 Arved J u r g e n s o n , " P o l i t b u r o Member V i s i t s E s t o n i a " , Kodumaa ( E n g l i s h Supplement), 16 November 1988, p. 1 . 6 7"Et otsustada i s e " , Rahva Rinde T e a t a j a 1 6 , 24 November 1988, p. 2. 79 on November 16 to d e a l w i t h the C o n s t i t u t i o n a l amendment i s s u e . E n c o u r a g e d by p u b l i c s u p p o r t (a l e t t e r - w r i t i n g campaign c o l l e c t e d over 800,000 s i g n a t u r e s a g a i n s t the S o v i e t c o n s t i t u t i o n a l amendments out of a t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n of 1 . 6 m i l l i o n ) , the E s t o n i a n Supreme Soviet i n c o n s u l t a t i o n with the ECP B u r e a u and C e n t r a l C o m m i t t e e i s s u e d t h e f o l l o w i n g " D e c l a r a t i o n of S o v e r e i g n t y " : The E s t o n i a n n a t i o n has been c u l t i v a t i n g l a n d and developing i t s c u l t u r e here, on the coast of the B a l t i c Sea, for more than 5 , 0 0 0 y e a r s . I n 1 9 4 0 t h e n a t i o n a l l y homogenous, sovereign R e p u b l i c of E s t o n i a became p a r t of the S o v i e t Union, whereas i t was e n v i s a g e d t h a t the guarantees of her s o v e r e i g n t y would be r e t a i n e d and the n a t i o n w o u l d f l o u r i s h . The d o m e s t i c p o l i c y of the S t a l i n i s t and s t a g n a t i o n p e r i o d s i g n o r e d t h e s e g u a r a n t e e s and v i e w s . A s a r e s u l t o f t h i s a n u n f a v o u r a b l e demographic s i t u a t i o n h a s d e v e l o p e d f o r t h e E s t o n i a n s a s t h e indigenous people; the n a t u r a l environment i n many p a r t s of the r e p u b l i c has reached a s t a t e of c a t a s t r o p h e ; the c o n t i n u i n g d e s t a b i l i z a t i o n of t h e economy h a s a n e g a t i v e impact on the s t a n d a r d s of the whole populat ion of the r e p u b l i c . To come out of the s t a t e of c r i s i s the E s t o n i a n SSR Supreme S o v i e t sees but one path — f u r t h e r development of E s t o n i a h a s t o t a k e p l a c e i n c o n d i t i o n s o f s o v e r e i g n t y . The s o v e r e i g n t y of t h e E s t o n i a n SSR means that her h ighest organs of power, the government and the c o u r t s , form the supreme power on her t e r r i t o r y . The s o v e r e i g n t y of the E s t o n i a n SSR i s i n t e g r a l and i n d i v i s i b l e . A c c o r d i n g l y , the f u r t h e r s t a t u s of the r e p u b l i c i n the S o v i e t Union s h o u l d be determined by a T r e a t y of the Union. 80 The Estonian SSR Supreme Soviet will not accept these alterations of and amendments to the Constitution of the USSR, submitted to discussion by the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium, which preclude the constitutional right of the Estonian SSR to self-determination. Relying on the international covenants on economic, social and cultural rights as well as on civil and political rights dating from December 16, 1966, ratified by the Soviet Union, and on other norms of international law, the supreme body representing people's power in the Estonian SSR, the Estonian SSR Supreme Soviet, declares the supremacy of its laws on the territory of the Estonian SSR. Alterations of and amendments to the USSR constitution will hence take effect on the territory of the Estonian SSR upon their approval by the Estonian SSR Supreme Soviet and on introducing respective alterations and amendments into the Constitution of the Estonian SSR. The Estonian SSR Supreme Soviet calls on all those who have linked their fate with Estonia to consolidate in order to build up a democratic and socialist Estonian society. The realization of sovereignty de jure and de facto also means that in the future the Estonian p e o p l e will not accept any law discriminating against representatives of whatever nationality living in Estonia.68 In addition the ESSR Supreme Soviet issued three other documents: 1) a resolution that recommended the negotiation of a Treaty of Union (or Federation) between the Supreme Soviets of Estonia and the USSR; ""Declaration of Sovereignty of the Estonian SSR", Kodumaa (English Supplement), 23 November 1988, p. 1). 81 2) a listing of recommended changes to the all-Soviet Constitution; 3) and six amendments to the Estonian Republican Constitution. These amendments stated that the Estonian Constitution now contains provisions for the legalization of private business and enterprise ownership; that all international human rights accords signed by the Soviet Union are also part of the Estonian legal system; that all natural resources, businesses and industries on the territory of the Estonia are owned by and fall within the legal jurisdiction of the E SSR; that all citizens are protected by Estonian Constitutional law and entitled to due process in the courts.69 By far the most important amendment concerned the law-making powers of the ESSR. The Estonian Supreme Soviet granted itself the right under Article 74 of the Estonian Constitution to veto any all-Union legislation, including Constitutional changes, that was in conflict with Estonian interests. On November 17, the USSR Supreme Soviet Presidium issued a statement claiming the Estonian decisions to be at variance with the Soviet Constitution, and on November 18 an Estonian delegation of Party and Popular Front leaders led by President Arnold Ruutel met with Soviet Vice-President Lukjanov in 69"Deklaratsioon", Rahva Haal, 19 November 1988, p. 2. 82 Moscow to discuss the amendments to the Estonian Constitution. Although the Estonians received sympathy from reform-minded officials and intellectuals, there was intense vocal pressure from conservative Party ranks to censure the Estonians. Therefore, the November 26 decision of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR to declare the Estonian amendments invalid and not in harmony with Soviet Constitutional law was not unexpected. In response to the developments in Moscow, ECP First Secretary Vaino Valjas reiterated on Estonian radio and Moscow television that the Estonian Constitutional amendments were an "inevitable part of perestroika in Estonia. Despite criticism we will not abandon the reforms we have undertaken. For perestroika to continue we must resort to radical solutions."70 In summary, the extraordinary 12th session of the IX USSR Supreme Soviet became the focal point of a gathering political storm over Moscow's relations with all of the republics, not just Estonia. Encouraged by the acceleration of glasnost and perestroika, the administrations of other republics gained the political courage to express long-standing grievances. While the proposed amendments to the new Soviet Constitution received sharp criticism from the three Baltic republics, Georgia, Boldavia and Armenia, the final reaction from Moscow was muted. 70Joel Aav, "Estonia Defends Decision of its Parliament", Kodumaa (English Supplement), 30 November 1988, p. 1-2. 83 In Gorbachev's opening address at the November 29 Supreme Soviet session, he spoke of "trust", "democracy", "negotiation" and "compromise" in dealing with republican grievances. Although not part of the original agenda of the session, the expansion of the sovereign rights of the constituent republics constituted a major section of Gorbachev's speech. He stated that: The desire and motivation to expand the economic rights of the republics is entirely justified and within the ambit of the law. This task has long since been part of the agenda of perestroika. We have repeatedly condemned excessive centralism as harmful to initiative. It is absurd that bureaucrats in offices in Moscow decide on questions of concrete substance in the affairs of republics in which they themselves have never set foot.71 The net result of the working session of the USSR Supreme Soviet was a unique Constitutional stalemate between Moscow and Estonia under Soviet law. Estonia's legislation concerning the right of veto over all-Union law could not be formally rescinded by the Supreme Soviet of the USSR so it was instead declared "invalid", and the issue was left hanging in the air with Moscow promising to re-examine Estonia's claims at some future date.72 With respect to other republics, 71Herbert Vainu, "Oppetund," Kodumaa, 7 December 1988, p. 2. 121Kelam Ibid. 84 Soviet officials at the session admitted publicly that the new amendments to the Soviet Constitution were prepared too hastily and without proper republican consultation. Although the USSR Supreme Soviet passed the bulk of the controversial legislation, it also established a working commission of experts from the constituent republics to ensure that future amendments to the Soviet Constitution regarding republican rights would not be made by central authorities in secret.73 The political atmosphere at the close of the Supreme Soviet session was decidedly different and more conciliatory than its stormy beginnings a week earlier when Gorbachev personally castigated President Ruutel and the other Estonian delegates. Gorbachev, in his closing remarks at the end of the session, stated that the session was a "school for democracy in which we must all learn and progress ... [We] have all learned a very valuable lesson here concerning the first steps of reform."74 Gorbachev's comments alluded to the most significant aspect of the whole session: the traditional politics of command and control from the center were, for the first time, replaced by a process of diplomatic negotiation and compromise between Moscow and the republics based on the principle of rule of law. Political conflicts over republican rights would from now on be referred to a Constitutional 73Ibid. 74Ibid. 85 commission for review. The sovereign rights of the Union republics must be expanded and a legal mechanism created to ensure their guaranteed survival.75 VII. SUMMARY The political year 1988 marked a revolutionary turning point in Estonian political history. Political reform arrived with sudden impact seemingly overnight and precipitated a social transformation that has yet to run its course. In actual fact, Gorbachev's reforms took root in Estonia much earlier but were successfully stunted by an aging and conservative ECP leadership. However, by the spring of 1988 the explosive emergence of perestroika and glasnost in Estonia could no longer be contained by local party leaders. Unable to martial political support from lower Party cadres and unwilling to accept directives for reform from Moscow the ECP leadership became politically isolated and were removed from their positions. In retrospect, Estonia was ripe for reform long before Gorbachev, but Soviet political realities and a repressive republican regime made advances impossible. Gorbachev's revolution from the top provided the inspiration for an Estonian revolution from below. In the words of economist and prominent Popular Front leader Edgar Savisaar; From 1985 to 1986 we learned to think boldly, in 1987 to speak boldly and in 75lbid. 86 1988 to act boldly. The political superstructure of our society, from a social perspective, is totally outmoded and what we have now is an expression of desire on the part of the people to even the score.76 January and December of 1988 are practically impossible to compare. A year ago we spoke of what to do; now — how to do it . . . within a year we have arrived at a completely new paradigm, where people have acquired political maturity and organizational capability in the context of a fundamentally new political culture.77 Between January and December 1988 the substance and conduct of Estonian politics changed to a degree impossible to forecast at the start of the year. What was illegal in January became ECP policy by September. Estonia's "new political culture" grew from the April plenum of the artistic and cultural unions where, in unprecedented fashion, leading artists, intellectuals and academics, publicly condemned the Estonian government. The plenum signalled the end of rule by fear and coercion from above and initiated the formation of a new political consciousness of optimism and hope among an electorate grown accustomed to limited political choice. The new political atmosphere permitted the formation of independent political 76Edgar Savisaar, "Rahvarinne — Revolutsioon Altpoolt" (Popular Front — Revolution From Below), Sirp ja Vasar, 13 May 1988, p. 3. "Edgar Savisaar, "1988 Aasta Sisepoliitikast Eestimaal", Sirp ja Vasar, 30 December 1988, p. 4. 87 clubs, organizations, and quasi-political parties and allowed for a rapid expansion of the spectrum of political thought and action. The interplay of various political groups developed into a symbolic pluralism whereby most political" movements could express political sentiment but remained restricted in their ability to participate in government other than in the form of lobbyists. The most effective and important political group to emerge from the events of 1988 was the Popular Front Movement. Through intelligent tactics and skillful maneuver the PF harnessed the power of grass-roots support groups to locally and nationally promote Estonian goals of cultural autonomy, economic self-management and political sovereignty. Greater freedom of political movement also produced an organic growth in national and cultural awareness. Through the rediscovery of their history and the restoration of outlawed cultural symbols Estonians awakened from political dormancy and found a sense of unity and political purpose that took Moscow and the local Russian-speaking population by surprise. Ethnic tensions grew and the polarization of political groups along ethnic lines threatened to explode into violent confrontation. The Estonian Declaration of Sovereignty marked the close of an era in political relations between Moscow and the Baltic republics. Colonial thinking gave way to diplomacy through the creation of new political mechanisms to resolve disputes and, in the process, the Baltic States achieved a new 88 political status as "quasi-states" instead of provinces. Economic power, however, continued to reside within the all-Union ministries in Moscow. Accustomed to the traditional command system of political economy inherited from Stalin, Moscow-controlled bureaucrats and industrial managers, under the banner of perestroika, skillfully exploited underlying ethnic tension between Estonians and Russian immigrants, and threatened to derail Estonian reforms by calling on Moscow to intervene with military force. The dynamics of Estonian political reform in 1988 reflected the basic problems that plague attempts to reform the Soviet system as a whole: a conservative political culture; the struggle for empire; an ossified, corrupt, and bureaucratized economy; and ethnic strife and violence. Despite formidable obstacles, Estonians successfully achieved changes in the relationship between the governors and the governed, that were out of reach since 1940 . For the first time since their incorporation into the Soviet Union, Estonians could direct the course of their domestic politics with a small measure of independence. However, in terms of meaningful autonomy, progress was minimal. Estonia was still wedded to the Soviet economy and experienced rationing of basic consumer items and foods. Glasnost was in abundance but perestroika had yet to make its appearance. Instead of a one-party system there was now a sort of "no-party" system where the ECP was nominally in power 89 but was operated through a coalition of activists from various political clubs. 90 Chapter 2 1989; TOWARD A NEW POLITICAL CULTURE The reform process initiated in Soviet Estonia in 1988 continued in early 1989. New and unprecedented developments became the norm in a dynamic and unpredictable process of social and political transformation that permeated Estonian society. The one constant in the process was the continued struggle for dominance between Stalinists, restorationists, and centrists. Our purpose in this chapter is to try and place this process in some sort of cultural context from which to gain a better understanding of the intense feelings of nationalism that underlie the motivations of Estonians. "Political culture" is a useful concept that can give depth and background to seemingly disparate and confusing events. In the words of Stephen White: The concept of political culture ... allows a greater degree of attention to be paid to the dimensions of political life which extend beyond formal institutional boundaries than traditional categories of analysis have normally permitted . . . Its merit, discriminatingly employed, is to identify those features of political b e l i e f and b e h a v i o u r w h i c h are historically derivable, specific to a particular national or other sub-group, and likely to have a continuing influence upon its future political evolution.78 78Stephen White, Political Culture and Soviet Politics (London: Macmillan, 1979), pp. x + 15-16. 91 The idea that political culture provides historical perspective and continuity to Communist studies is echoed by Archie Brown: The peculiar relevance of the study of 'political culture1 in relation to change and continuity in Communist states lies in the fact that the goals of total p o l i t i c a l , economic and cultural transformation have been pursued by ruling Communist Parties in societies with the most diverse historical and cultural traditions.79 The term 'political culture' however, is controversial. Like many political science terms, political culture means different things to different people. Some view political culture as a dependant variable, while others see it as an independent or intervening variable. Some see political culture as simultaneously a dependent and independent variable while others doubt the very existence of a political culture. Our intent in this chapter is not to become embroiled in theoretical polemics, but simply to use available analytical tools to highlight the cultural factor as a major determinant of political change in Estonia and the Soviet Union. As Timothy Colton points out: Most contemporary specialists on Soviet government and politics give little heed to cultural variables. Some of the 79Political Culture and Political Change in Communist States, 2nd ed., ed. by Archie Brown and Jack Gray (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1979), p. 1. 92 leading textbooks in the field devote only a few pages to the subject. Overviews of the Soviet system, including forecasts of its future, almost invariably slight the role of culture. The reasons for this neglect begin, no d o u b t , with the d i s c i p l i n a r y specialization that now rules in Soviet and communist studies, something which, for all the good it has wrought, has also had a number af unfortunate by-products. Moreover, to the degree that political scientists studying the Soviet Union do utilize other disciplines and traditions, literary and cultural analysis lags far behind economics, law, and sociology. Culture tends to be seen mainly as a realm of policy, indeed, as a conglomerate of discrete policies toward ethnicity, the arts, dissent, and so forth, rather than as a pervasive environment within which public and private choices are made and realized. Rarely acquiring the skills needed for critical analysis of cultural products and phenomena, political scientists often relegate them to the realm of the exotic and abstruse, and downplay culture's significance for Soviet politics. Political analysts, naturally enough during the conservative Brezhnev period, saw Soviet culture as static and hidebound, and therefore as far less a potential motor of change than other elements of the Soviet system, in particular, economics.80 In the context of Colton's comments, the focus of this study is on Soviet Estonian culture as a "pervasive environment" within which private and public political choices are made. Political culture is that part of the cultural environment that bears the most relevance to politics. The 80Timothy J. Colton, "The Cultural Factor and the Soviet Future", Studies in Comparative Communism, Vol. XX, Nos. 3/4, Autumn - Winter 1987, 287-290. 93 significance of political culture in the study of the Soviet Union is that its diversity of cultural environments acts as a prism or filter that bends and reshapes the influence of "official culture" according to local cultural and regional peculiarities. To speak of a "Soviet political culture" is very difficult. If we take it to mean "official culture" (i.e. the set of beliefs and values that the regime claims that it wants its citizens to hold), then our information is unlimited. However, the Soviet Union is a conglomerate of cultures each of which accepts and/or rejects aspects of "official culture" in its own way. We must therefore include in our analysis the concept of "dominant culture", i.e., the basic values and beliefs of the mass of the population. The mass of the Soviet population, however, is fragmented into various national territories, enclaves and minorities, each with their own dominant culture. The object in focusing on Estonia is to explore the dichotomous relationship between the "official" and "dominant" culture in one republic and thereby highlight the immense problems in the area of national minority relations that hinder Soviet reforms. 94 POLITICAL CULTURE: DEFINITION AND ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK Many definitions of political culture are possible. Here it will be defined as . . . the subjective perception of history and politics, the fundamental beliefs and values, the foci of identification and loyalty, and the political knowledge and expectations which are the product of the specific historical experience of nations and groups.81 The advantage of Brown's definition is that it lists observations of political behaviour in a simplified analytical framework of four component parts. These components are: 1) Previous political experience - i.e., people's subjective interpretations of their cultural history and how this perception is likely to have a bearing on subsequent political behaviour; 2) Values and fundamental beliefs - deeply held beliefs about concepts such as liberty, independence, individualism, collectivism, or egalitarianism, as well as beliefs concerning the efficacy of the individual in relation to the political process; these beliefs and values may be reflected in orientations toward current political issues; beliefs and values also include cultural myths; 81Brown, Political Culture and Political Change, p. 1. 95 3) Foci of identification and loyalty - i.e., ethnic group, national identity, political party or social class and symbols such as past leaders, flags, songs (anthems) or literature; 4) Political knowledge and expectations - citizens' knowledge of their own political system and of alternative political systems; "knowledge" includes freedom of circulation of information through the media, the availability of educational opportunities, and the nature and extent of contact with other societies. Citizens' expectations are related to their level of political knowledge and may include desired norms of political behaviour, of political decision-making and policy outcomes.82 By studying these four components of political culture Brown's model attempts to answer four questions about the nature of a political system. These are: i) What is the relationship between the process of political socialization and political culture? (i.e. the relationship between the official and the dominant political culture; e.g., is there a 'New Soviet Man'?) 82lbid. , pp. 16-18. 96 ii) What is the relationship between the dominant political culture and political subcultures? (e.g., ethnic relations, political fringe groups) iii) What is the relationship between levels of socio-economic development and political culture? iv) What is the relationship between political culture and political change? (the main subject of enquiry according to Brown)83 A disadvantage of Brown's approach is that the methods of data collection and analysis are s u b j e c t i v e and impressionistic. The difficulty in obtaining accurate information on the values, beliefs and attitudes of Soviets (even in the age of glasnost), requires that information be gleaned from a wide range of sources that include literature, memoirs, the Soviet media, and interviews with Soviet citizens and emigres. An added weakness concerns the organization and interpretation of the multitude of factors that affect political culture. What cultural biases, for example, are inherent in our own assessments of historical trends, and how do they colour our analysis? Are the hypothesis even testable in any form? Despite limitations and methodological problems, the advantages of Brown's subjective, anthropological approach outweigh the disadvantages if we keep in mind that "the main value of the concept of political culture is not primarily in 83Ibid. pp. 18-20. 97 relation to the future at all, but as an aid to understanding the present and as an element in the explanation of certain types of political change which have taken place."84 As anthropologist Clifford Geertz writes: The concept of culture I espouse ... is essentially a semiotic one. Believing, with Max Weber, that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun, I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretative one in search of meaning.85 And in the words of Philip Converse: Belief systems have never surrendered e a s i l y to e m p i r i c a l s t u d y or quantification. Indeed, they have often served as primary exhibits for the doctrine that what is important to study cannot be measured and that what can be measured is not important to study.86 I. ESTONIA'S PREVIOUS POLITICAL EXPERIENCE Estonia's political history is roughly divisible into four discrete periods: subjugation and serfdom from 1200 to approximately 1800, emancipation from serfdom and the growth of national consciousness 1800-1918, nation-statehood 1918-1939, and Soviet rule 1940 to the present. During the 84Political Culture and Communist Studies, ed. Archie Brown (London: Macmillan, 1984), p. 187. 85Cited in Ibid., p. 153. 85Cited in Ibid., p. 156. 98 centuries between 1200 and 1800, Estonia was ruled in succession by the Teutonic Germans, Danes, Swedes and finally Czarist Russia. The abolition of serfdom in Estonia in 1801 by Czar Alexander I permitted the emancipated peasants to become landowners and move to towns and cities previously closed to the indigenous population. A middle class and proletariat made their appearance by the 1870's and created a local agrarian and industrial infrastructure. Urban expansion was paralleled by the introduction of education in the Estonian language. By the end of the century, Estonia and the other Baltic provinces were unique within the Russian Empire for having, on the whole, eliminated illiteracy, in turn literacy and urbanization fostered the growth of a national consciousness.87 Estonian political access, however, was confined to local and municipal levels because higher positions within the provincial government, the courts and higher education remained the preserve of a local Baltic German aristocracy. Employed first by the Swedes and later Russia as a highly educated civil service, the Baltic Germans gradually lost their monopoly on political and economic power in the Baltic by World War I.88 The power vacuum created by the collapse of Germany and Czarist Russia at the end of the war gave the Baltic provinces 87Misiunas and Taagepera, Baltic States, pp. 2-6. 88Ibid. p. 6. 99 the chance to formally declare themselves independent states in 1918. In 1920, the three Baltic countries concluded peace treaties with the new Russian Federation in which Russian claims to Baltic territory were renounced in perpetuity. The newly created Estonian state adopted a Western-style liberal democratic constitution and a multi-party parliamentary government. Democracy, however, could not survive the unstable political environment that reigned both inside and outside the country. Lack of political experience, a fragmented parliament with multiple parties, and radical political currents sweeping Europe in the 1930's contributed to political disintegration and chaos. In Estonia the average life-span of governments between 1918 and 1933 was eight months. In October of 1933, President Konstantin Pats declared a state of emergency and formed an authoritarian regime that ruled by decree until 1938 when new elections brought a return to a semblance of democracy.89 By 1939, however, the political fate of the Baltic states was to be decided by events unrelated to domestic politics. Their future was sealed by the conclusion of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Hitler and Stalin on August 23, 1939. Attempts by the Baltic states to remain neutral under the 89Ibid. The Pa"ts government mirrored the wave of authoritarianism and radicalism that swept eastern and central Europe in the aftermath of the Depression. The Pats regime, however, was benign in most respects and is credited by some historians with the restoration of civil order. 100 gathering war clouds proved fruitless when Soviet armed forces occupied the Baltic in the fall of 1939, and in August 1940, the Baltic states were formally annexed into the Soviet Union in a bloodless coup. In response to protests from the Lithuanian foreign ministry one month earlier (June 30, 1940), Soviet foreign minister Molotov replied that: You must take a good look at reality and understand that in the future small nations will have to disappear. Your Lithuania along with the other Baltic nations, including Finland, will have to join the glorious family of the Soviet Union. Therefore you should begin now to initiate your people into the Soviet system, which in the future shall reign everywhere, throughout all Europe.90 ' Sovietization' under Stalin brought immediate and far-reaching changes. The private sector of the economy was nationalized and agriculture collectivized. Resistance to Soviet rule was crushed with a campaign of terror, mass deportations, executions and imprisonment. The largest single mass deportation occurred March 25, 1949 when 20,000 people (men, women and children) were deported in cattle cars to Siberian camps.91 In exchange, the Soviets brought settlers 90Ibid. p. 25. 91Rein Ja"rlik, "Kas Teame Tode?" (Do we know the truth), Sirp ja Vasar, 5 May 1989 , p. 12. The actual number of citizens deported on March 25, 1949 is still the subject of controversy in Estonia. Government archives give a figure of 20,702 but eyewitnesses and independent sources claim that the figure is too low. Estimates run as high as 60,000. (See Misiunas and Taagepera, p. 96.) 101 and migrant labourers to populate new industrial complexes. P o l i t i c a l life was a l s o a h a z a r d o u s u n d e r t a k i n g . 'Homegrown' Estonian communists were distrusted in Moscow and, in 1950-51, purged from all higher party positions and r e p l a c e d by R u s s i a n s or i m p o r t e d E s t o n i a n c a d r e s ("Yestonians"). The numerical size of the ECP remained small in relation to present day size, an indication that average citizens refused to become politically involved with the new regime. Neither did the ethnic composition of the ECP show that native Estonians supported the Party. In January 1946 the ECP numbered 7139 members, 52% of them Russian, 21% ' Y e s t o n i a n s ' ( E s t o n i a n s w h o u n d e r w e n t 20 y e a r s of Sovietization during the interwar period) and 27% local homegrown Estonians (total Estonians 48%). By 1953 at the time of Stalin's death the ECP total numbered 22,000 out of a population of 1 million. The percentage of Estonians and Yestonians was only 42% compared to the 1946 figure of 48%, Russian immigration and purges of Estonians account for the drop in figures. At the beginning of 1953 no homegrown Estonians could be listed among the 4 ECP secretaries and 26 ministers at the top of the party hierarchy.92 Under Khrushchev there was some relief from the terror that prevailed under Stalin, and a political career became l e s s d a n g e r o u s to o n e ' s h e a l t h . S e v e r a l h i g h e r ECP 92Misiunas and Taagepera, pp. 77-81. f u n c t i o n a r i e s purged in 1950-51 were r e h a b i l i t a t e d and reinstated to party and government posts and, although a purge did take place in Latvia in 1959, the Estonia party escaped further political chaos because anyone suspect had been purged e a r l i e r . D e - S t a 1 i n i z a t i o n p r o d u c e d rising p o l i t i c a l expectations and induced native Estonians to join the ECP with the hope of effecting reforms. In addition, Khrushchev's cultural 'thaw' provided a psychological boost to local political aspirations by permitting the re-emergence of the arts and national culture in Estonia. Contacts with the West intensified through tourism, trade and c o m m u n i c a t i o n s . Estonia, together with Latvia and Lithuania, revitalized their cultural infrastructure and identity which were already separate and distinct from the rest of the Soviet Union. Political autonomy, however, remained an impossibility after an anti-nationalist crackdown by Soviet authorities in the wake of the Polish and Hungarian rebellions of 1956. Higher party and government posts remained controlled by Russians and Yestonians appointed from Moscow.93 De-Stalinization continued for a short time after the fall of Khrushchev, and then stopped and reversed. Brezhnev's l e g a c y was his u n w r i t t e n pact w i t h p a r t y c a d r e s and bureaucrats, whereby officials were promised secure tenure at their posts in exchange for loyalty and the ability to 93Ibid. pp. 141-145. 103 maintain political stability. The consequences of Brezhnev's a g r e e m e n t b e c a m e known as the era of s t a g n a t i o n and "administrative immobilism".94 Political stagnation manifested itself in -Estonia in party affairs, the economy and culture. Firstly, high party and government officials at the top of the hierarchy refused to make room for younger homegrown candidates and held on to their positions at all costs. Corruption, irresponsibility, and arbitrary rule at the top in turn fostered cynicism, apathy and resentment below. Newer party cadres disdained c o m m u n i s t v a l u e s and e s p o u s e d a d o c t r i n e of p u b l i c accommodation and private dissent. Secondly, corruption and inefficiency at the top in Moscow and Tallinn resulted in an economic downturn at the end of the 1970's that continues up to the present. In addition, anti-nationalist sentiment in Moscow and the upper levels of the ECP congealed into a concerted plan of Russification, whereby Russian was to be the lingua franca of all official documentation and government activity, and a compulsory subject in all republican schools starting from the first grade. The forced imposition of Russian was considered an alien intrusion into Estonian cultural life and created an anti-Russian backlash among Estonians. In summary, the Brezhnev era was synonymous with political stasis and conservatism at the top of the Estonian 94Ibid. p. 195. 104 party structure. Although the overt brutality of the Stalin era was gone, the police state still operated in the absence of legal government (i.e., a legally elected government with the full support of the civilian population).95 Political Undercurrents From History T w o d o m i n a n t h i s t o r i c a l t h e m e s p e r m e a t e E s t o n i a n political experience; the first is the legacy of independent statehood and the second is the shadow of Stalinism. To Estonians, independent statehood in 1918 symbolized their a r r i v a l on the world stage as a m o d e r n , l i t e r a t e , and industrialized western culture. Statehood was an opportunity to escape the servility of past centuries and develop a cohesive, independent cultural and economic infrastructure. The product of north European protestant history, Estonia incorporated a distinctly western o r i e n t a t i o n into its governmental administration, higher education and trade and communication links. Today, although the independent Estonian state is gone, the social, cultural and educational infrastructure remains intact u n d e r n e a t h the veneer of S o v i e t i z a t i o n , and the awareness of nationhood is very much alive not just among those old enough to remember statehood. Contemporary Estonia is built upon an inherited corpus df knowledge and experience of parliamentarianism and legalism that was not totally 95Ibid. pp. 195-204. 105 destroyed by Soviet annexation. The legacy of independent statehood was to create a cultural infrastructure and cohesive political identity that, under Soviet rule, became a bulwark against assimilation into Russian and Soviet culture. The other dominant historical influence, Stalinism, is more difficult to assess, firstly, because of the nature and colossal scope of his crimes and, secondly, because new information about the system he presided over is only now coming to light. Nevertheless, the "Stalin question" remains "an open wound" in Soviet and Estonian society, Stalin's "mountain of achievements" versus "his mountain of crimes".96 But what is Stalinism? Stalinism is a system created by Stalin whereby the will, desire and power of the Leader, the Party and the Government were absolute protected and guaranteed by the armed forces and a secret police network, both of which have successfully survived the test of time ... To f o r e i g n e r s the prevailing system is as unintelligible as an atom-smasher to a neanderthal. We are d e a l i n g with a system that, from the height of God himself, commands at will the total resources of the state. This means a total command over people, their consciousness, their desires and all of nature ... It is a union of executions and victims. It is the mental illness and insanity of healthy, whole people those who, with an enthusiasm born out of fear and paranoia, embrace the thoughts of Stalin. The internal logic of the system is such that at times the executioners 'Stephen F. Cohen, "The Stalin Question", The q n u i 0 f Union Toda^, e d . James Cracraft (Chicago: U n i ^ l W ^ f Chicago Press, 1983). pp. 22-23. university of 106 become victims and the victims become the executioner. The cyclical exchange and replacement of executioners and victims is the fundamental principal that underlies the renewal and survival of the system.97 In E s t o n i a , two g r o u p s h a v e a v e s t e d i n t e r e s t in Stalinist history; those who had a hand in executions (and deportations) and those who were the victims of the terror under Stalin. This is a very complex and volatile political issue. Those who aided in the terror, willingly or otherwise, live and work among those who were terrorized, sent to camps and later rehabilitated. In addition, the terror did not e m b r a c e only the tens of thousands who were d e p o r t e d , imprisoned or killed during the witch-hunts of the forties and early fifties, but also their families and friends. Until quite recently those who were in some way closely connected to the victims of political violence (including, of course, the victims themselves who were still alive) were stigmatized on their official records as unfit for foreign travel, higher level jobs or better schools. Hundreds of thousands were affected and many contend that the Stalinist legacy is a wound that will not disappear without some form of public catharsis. Public demands for official condemnation of Stalinist excesses in Estonia were voiced at Heritage Society meetings in December of 1987 and in the resolutions prepared for the 97Voldemar Pinn, "Ohvrid ja Timukad", Sirp ja Vasar, 3 February 1989, p. 12. 107 XIX CPSU conference by the plenum of Estonia cultural unions in April of 1988. In addition, announcements began to appear in local (city and raion level) party newspapers by the summer of 1988 that called for an official investigation of the archives of the secret service and the Estonia Ministry of the Interior regarding the deportations of 1941 and 1949 .98 By the spring of 1989 ads appeared in city newspapers that declared March 25 a day of national mourning in memory of the deportations of 1949. In the city of Tartu, for example, local chapters of the EHS and the PF jointly placed an announcement in the Tartu daily Edasi.99 In the same spirit of renewal, Estonian Communist Party members on the executive committee of the Estonian Popular Front circulated a petition (via newspapers) to be sent to the ECP Central Committee. The document called for the ECP to publicly 'cleanse' itself and reveal its role in the terror of the Stalin era. The petition was read out at a public meeting on March 21, 1989 to commemorate the 1949 mass deportations. To the Estonian Communist Party Central Committee We come from a past filled w i t h violence. The mass deportations of 1941 and 1949, like all Stalinist reprisals constitute genocide against the Estonian people. 98Edasi, 16 June 1988, p. 1. "Edasi, 23 March 1989, p. 1. Tens of thousands of people were uprooted from the country and taken away to slavery. T h e r e is no f a m i l y in E s t o n i a unaffected by the deadly breath of the S t a l i n i s t terror. The graves of our f e l l o w E s t o n i a n s in remote S i b e r i a , d e s t r o y e d h u m a n l i v e s , and p a i n f u l memories knock on our hearts. We want to overcome this. We want to be sure that nothing like this will happen again. We must redeem our guilt. The redemption of guilt must start from the Communist Party, the Communist P a r t y of E s t o n i a i n c l u d e d . We, the Communists of the Popular Front of Estonia and, most likely, all Estonian Communists are haunted by the knowledge of the CP of E s t o n i a ' s participation in the crimes against the Estonian people. We call for: (1) granting access to all the archives of the security police and Party organs. As long as full truth about our past is not revealed there can be no trust between the Party and the people today or tomorrow; (2) implementation of the principles of glasnost and democracy also within the Party, for its present structural build-up only favours careerists and unthinking executors; (3) displaying initiative in abolishing the P a r t y ' s C o n s t i t u t i o n a l l y granted guiding role in Soviet society—the Party must prove itself by winning the mandate of the people; (4) compensating for the losses of the victims of Stalinist reprisals from the Party budget; ( 5 ) r e n o u n c i n g n e o - S t a 1 i n i s t a n d imperialistic ideology, which can best be achieved through adopting a new, Estonia-oriented, programme of the Communist Party of Estonia. We call upon the Party veterans whose l i v e s h a v e b e e n def or'med by f o r c e d p a r t i c i p a t i o n in c a r r y i n g out the r e p r i s a l s to find enough courage and strength so as to reveal to the present young generation the full truth about those bitter years of injustice. 109 We propose this appeal to be signed by all honest Communists in Estonia. We hope that their signatures will express our determination to break with the past and turn over a new leaf in the history of the Communist Party of Estonia.100 (Excerpts) On May 13 and 14 of 1989 in Tallinn the Popular Front movements of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania formed a 'Baltic Assembly to co-ordinate their political objectives. The Assembly issued a "Resolution on Stalinist Crimes" that called for Soviet officials involved in the mass deportations to be brought to trial: In the 1920's an un-popular totalitarian regime and merciless repressive policies were established in the USSR and a system of state terrorism was set up, which in an a l t e r e d form has s u r v i v e d up to the present day. After being annexed in the summer of 1940, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia a n d L i t h u a n i a w e r e s e i z e d by t h e t o t a l i t a r i a n regime which launched a campaign of inhumane acts. The preplanned genocide of the peoples of the Baltic countries culminated in mass deportations and executions in these republics. A great number of people were given long prison sentences and submitted to enormous suffering. The system of state t e r r o r i s m d i r e c t e d against the local population affected hundreds of thousands of people representing all social groups, including old people and children. The repressive policies of the USSR became the main reason for„ mass emigration from the Baltic countries and led to grave c o n s e q u e n c e s for the economic, socio-cultural and demographic development of 100Edasi, 24 March 1989, p. 1. 110 t h e p e o p l e s of E s t o n i a , L a t v i a and Lithuania. H u m a n i s m a n d d e m o c r a c y a r e inconceivable without the legal assessment of Stalinist crimes and without calling to account those who are responsible for the crimes. In t h e n a m e o f j u s t i c e , t h e p a r t i c i p a n t s of the B a l t i c A s s e m b l y demand: 1. That the Supreme Soviet of the USSR recognize Stalinist policy and its system of state terrorism as genocide against the peoples of the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and as a crime against humanity; 2. That compensation and pensions to people cleared of their crimes be paid from the state budget of the USSR, in view of the fact that the r e p r i s a l s w e r e carried out under orders from all-Union bodies and the repressed worked beyond the borders of their republics; 3. That the initiators of genocide as well as its immediate perpetrators be made public; that bodies immediately guilty of the organization of the genocide, such as OGPU, GPU, NKVD and others, be declared c r i m i n a l ; t h a t , in r e l a t i o n to the obligation of the USSR to international law, independent legal mechanisms similar to the Nuremberg Tribunal be instituted to examine crimes against humanity. The Popular Front of Estonia The Popular Front of Latvia The Lithuanian Reform Movement Sajudis101 Tallinn, May 14, 1989 Yet, the attempt to exorcise the ghost of Stalinism is potentially dangerous. How much of the truth is ready to be revealed and who should be singled out for punishment? 1 0 1 " B a l t i c A s s e m b l y on Stalinist Crimes", K o d u m a a (English Supplement), 31 May 1989, p. 2. Ill According to linguist Mati Hint, Estonia is on the verge of sinking into a "reverse Stalinism" where pogroms will be directed first at those whose past records are tarnished by participation in the terror and later at those who somehow "collaborated" as "traitors" against the ideals of Estonia.102 But where, asks Hint, are the boundaries of justice if due process is forgotten and the presumption of innocence ignored in a new witch-hunt against any or all who at one time glorified the 'October Revolution' and the 'light of the Great Stalin' because otherwise the rest of their work would never see the light of day? The danger here is that there is no concrete set of criteria to determine who are real Estonian patriots and who are "traitors", "turncoats", "Stalinists" and enemies or what to do with these people. The result would be a fragmentation of the polity into warring factions that fight each other with the same Stalinist sloganeering, the same paranoia in the search for traitors, the s a m e u n d e r s t a n d i n g of t h e i r o w n infallibility, the same intolerance toward political virtues even slightly different from their own.103 Hint asks: 102Mati Hint, "Sallimatuse Su"ndroom", Sirp ja Vasar, 7 April 1989, p. 2. 121Kelam Ibid. 112 Can it really be true that we h a v e absorbed into our thought and action the same political mechanism [of Stalinism] ... that the 'clean' members of the ECP call upon the party to cleanse itself. If reverse Stalinism and intolerance of others on the principle that 'who is not with us is against us' -- if this is inside yourselves and myself, then we must take stock of this before we destroy ourselves through fragmentation in ways that no exterior common enemy has yet succeeded" .104 104lbid. 113 II. VALUES AND BELIEFS Estonia's dominant political values can be summed up as a b e l i e f in i n d i v i d u a l p o l i t i c a l f r e e d o m and n a t i o n a l independence and statehood. In particular, the belief in political freedom includes the restoration of multi-party parliamentary democracy and an end to political and economic servitude as a Soviet republic. Years of Sovietization have failed to erase Estonia's past political experience or remold the Estonian national identity to conform to the ideals of 'official' Soviet political culture. This was confirmed in a poll conducted by the Estonian public opinion research group MAINOR (Project and Design Bureau of Management Systems of the Ministry of Apparel Industry of Estonian SSR - Sector of Public Opinion and Market Research). According to public opinion expert and MAINOR researcher Juhan Kivirahk, the poll carried out by MAINOR in December of 1988 was the first of its type to be made public. Political opinion polls, said Kivirahk, were carried out for years at the request of the ECP but the results were usually either kept secret or distorted for propaganda purposes. Now with glasnost honest and direct polls are possible.105 At the end of 1988, according to the Mainor survey, the Popular Front, the Greens Movement and the Estonian Heritage 105Juhan Kivirahk, from a personal interview in Tallinn, Estonia, 1 March 1989. See also Kodumaa (English Supplement), 17 May 1989, p. 2. 114 Society enjoyed the most support among ethnic Estonians, 80, 79 and 75 percent, respectively, (see Table I). These groups were followed in order of support by the Church, independent Youth organizations and the Estonian Communist Party. Low l e v e l s of s u p p o r t w e r e e v i d e n t for t h e E C P , t h e Internationalist Front Movement, the United Council of Work Collectives, and the Estonian National Independence Party. As outlined in Chapter I, the ideals and beliefs of the PF, the Greens and the EHS are closely related to each other in terms a g e n e r a l desire for Estonian s e l f - d e t e r m i n a t i o n . The Stalinist Internationalist Front and its affiliate, the United Council of Workers Collectives, were unpopular among both Estonians and non-Estonians. Very low support across the board was garnered by the trade union movement, regarded by most citizens as a useless Communist Party appendage. The Estonian National Independence Party, on the other hand, was considered "extremist" by Estonians and non-Estonians alike for their advocacy of immediate and unconditional independence of Estonia from the Soviet Union. The figures in Table I make more sense if we remember that the poll is a cross-section at one moment in time of a political culture in evolution and flux. The expressions for support or non-support are symbolic gestures toward groups that evolved in restricted political conditions, i.e., in a one-party political system that as yet will not formally permit opposition parties to challenge its monopoly on power. One can say that pluralism does now exist 115 in Estonia but in truncated form along channels of least political resistance, ie., through political clubs and informal organizations.106 If actual pluralism developed in the form of real political parties or organizations with actual input into the operation of Estonian government, the levels of support for various groups might be altered. According to an independent Finnish poll carried out in Estonia on May 3, 1989, Estonia's Communist Party would suffer a resounding defeat if open, western-style elections were held. The poll, commissioned by and published in Finland's largest evening newspaper, Ilta Sanomat, showed that only 16.3% of Estonians and non-Estonians would vote for the ECP. The largest share of votes would go to the Popular Front Movement with 35.2 percent while the environmentalist Greens would get 12.2 percent (see Table II). In total the non-communist parties would receive 72.7 percent w h i l e the ECP and two small S t a l i n i s t p a r t i e s , the Internationalist Front and the United Council of Workers Collectives, 27.3 percent of the final vote. According to the poll, carried out with Estonian government permission, 74.5 percent of respondents felt that the president of the republic should be directly elected, 21.3 percent felt that Estonia should remain a Soviet Socialist Republic and a total of 66.4 121Kelam Ibid. 116 percent were either entirely or generally in favour of a multi-party system (i.e. 45.1 + 21.3 percent).107 The survey also divided those polled into Estonians and non-Estonians and found that a majority of 79.5 percent of Estonians were in favour of a multiparty system while only 43.5 percent of non-Estonians felt the same. The same ethnic division occurred with regard to the Popular Front, the ECP and the question of Estonian independence. Although 50.3 percent of Estonians would vote for the Popular Front only 8.9 percent of non-Estonians favoured the PF. The ECP would receive 32.2 percent of the non-Estonian vote but only 7.2 percent of the Estonian support. Furthermore, 55.5 percent of Estonians believed they would become an independent country in the future while only 5.3 percent of non-Estonians agreed. If we compare the Finnish poll with the MAINOR figures of December, several discrepancies become apparent. For example, support for the EHS and the Greens is much higher in the MAINOR poll than in the Finnish survey. The two polls, h o w e v e r , measure different things; M A I N O R m e a s u r e d the political sympathies of Estonians in relation to the groups and movements that appeared on the Estonian political spectrum in 1988. The Finnish poll measured political preferences if only one choice was available in-an election. Citizens strongly supported the principles of the EHS but felt that 107From UPI Wire Service, 3 May 1989. 117 they were incapable of governing skillfully if elected to office. The same situation held for the Greens. The Estonian National Independence Party, however, received low support in both polls because of a perceived danger by the public that the party's adamant public demands for immediate political i n d e p e n d e n c e would play into .the hands of c o n s e r v a t i v e elements in Moscow and create a Stalinist backlash. The Estonian desire for political independence is tempered by the realization that the achievement of political freedom will not be an overnight process. The PF, on the other hand, enjoys wide support precisely because of its incremental and centrist approach to reforms in the face of a concerted attack on Estonian nationalism and liberalism by conservative forces in the Internationalist Front and in Moscow. Although a majority of Estonians favour independence, the ideals of the ENIP are considered to be too far removed from the everyday political reality Estonians must live with: a colony on the fringes of a collapsing empire. The complexity and explosive nature of their situation is as yet difficult to convey by means of polls. What the polls do confirm, however, is that the desire for a politically pluralistic society is firmly ensconced. The g r o u p s and m o v e m e n t s l i s t e d in the p o l l s are the p r e d e c e s s o r s of political parties in the event that a multiparty system may develop. If the first session of the new Soviet Parliament is any indication, then a quasi-multiparty system is close at hand. The new Parliament in Moscow is a panorama of cultures and political orientations that have now formed into cliques, factions and pressure groups that in some respects resemble parties. Since the upcoming republican level parliamentary elections slated for the fall of 1989 will probably be modeled after the all-Union legislative body in terms of structure, opportunities will certainly arise to form factions and coalitions based on m e m b e r s ' alignment with particular groups. Despite the continued "leading role of the Party," there is now enough political latitude within the Baltic republics so that the Greens, the PF or the Heritage Society could submit their own slate of candidates for election. Although this did not formally take place during the all-Union P a r l i a m e n t a r y elections of March 1989, the majority of candidates elected in Estonia and the rest of the Baltic received the support of the electorate on the strength of their known membership and participation in non-Communist organizations such as the Greens or the Popular Front. The other salient feature confirmed by the polls is the uniformly low support and respect for the 110,000 member Estonian Communist Party. The prestige of the ECP was never particularly high because of its monopoly on power and its tainted past as a conduit of state terrorism visited upon the citizenry. Traditionally, membership in the ECP was the only path available to those with career ambitions. Most higher 119 levels jobs and positions, particularly in education (e.g., school principal) and the government bureaucracy from the m u n i c i p a l level upward required party memberships as an unwritten prerequisite for a candidate to be considered for job t e n u r e or p r o m o t i o n . Even before p e r e s t r o i k a and glasnost, the Party and the bureaucracy were synonymous with graft and corruption. Now with new opportunities to join other political organizations, membership within the ECP is a much less attractive option. In t h e v i e w of the p u b l i c , the ECP is d i r e c t l y responsible for the current economic and political crisis in Estonia. The party's past record is seen as the inevitable and l o g i c a l product of a p o l i t i c a l system rooted in a Stalinist (i.e., centralized) administrative and bureaucratic political model that for the past four decades meant the eradication and liquidation of any semblance of democracy. Political tinkering or the promise of non-Stalinist variations of Marxism have little appeal to an electorate that seeks escape from a stunted and corrupt political culture. Curiously enough, however, a popularity poll carried out by MAINOR at the end of January, 1989, rated top Estonian C o m m u n i s t P a r t y m e m b e r s a s t h e m o s t p o p u l a r p u b l i c personalities in Estonia out of ar possible .seventy public figures (see Table III).108 In the opinion off Estonian and io8.iEesti uhiskonnategelaste Populaarus," Noorte Haal, 18 February 1989, p. 3. 120 non-Estonian respondents taken as a whole, the most popular figure was ECP First Secretary Vaino Valjas followed by Arnold Ruutel, the Estonian President, and Indrek Toome, the Estonian Prime Minister. The Estonian respondents gave the highest ratings to Popular Front leaders Marju Lauristin and Edgar Savisaar followed by Vaino Valjas and Arnold Ruutel in third and fourth place respectively and Prime Minister Indrek Toome in seventh. The non-Estonian respondents placed Vaino Valjas, A r n o l d R u u t e l and Indrek Toome first, second and third respectively. At the bottom end of the popularity spectrum among Estonian and non-Estonian respondents were members of the radical Estonian National Independence Party and their ideological opposites the Internationalist Front Movement. Among those also at the bottom of the list were several high-ranking Party and government officials left over from the past administration but still managing to cling to office. With the exception of the members of the ENIP, virtually every one of the artists, writers, academics and government officials oh the list were Communist Party members. To Western observers the fact that ECP officials and prominent party members are genuinely popular seems incongruous with the results of the polls discussed above. The explanation is that the leading public figures of Estonia are respected not as party members but for their reform efforts as activists within the ECP the PF, the Greens and the EHS. Their popularity is a reflection of the values of the 'dominant' political culture 121 of Estonia. The concept of the Party, in 'official' political culture, as the leading force in Estonian political affairs is dead. The ECP is, in one sense, an empty shell M a r x ' s withering away of the state has been transferred to the Party. In another sense, the Party is an archaic political archetype embedded in the 'deep-structure' of Soviet politics that refuses to disappear gracefully. In current circumstances the ECP is still the only political conduit in Estonia that has the direct ear of Moscow. The ECP's usefulness as a political tool for the advancement of Estonian interests is borne out of political necessity and current Soviet political reality, and once the Party's function as a united front to protect Estonia's interests is finished, the ECP can expect a rapid demise of its membership and support.109 109Prom a taped interview conducted by Lembit Soots with T. Made, leading Estonian Green Party Activist, economist and ECP member. Table I PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS AND MOVEMENTS Poll Conducted by MAINOR For Dec. 31, 1988 Support Support in Part with Neutral Against Scale Average* Totally (*) Reservations (%) {%) {%) P E N . P E N P E N P E N P E N ECP 18 18 19 57 61 50 16 15 20 9 7 12 2.16 2.12 2.12 Komosomol 3 1 7 16 12 25 50 52 44 32 34 25 3.21 3.34 2.92 Trade Unions 6 3 13 31 28 38 39 40 35 25 31 14 2.85 3.00 2.52 Popular Front 61 80 21 24 19 33 6 1 17 10 1 29 1.69 1.22 2.66 Estonian Heritage Society 68 75 52 23 20 29 8 4 17 1 1 2 1.44 1.31 1.70 Greens 70 79 50 25 19 37 4 2 8 1 0 5 1.38 1.23 1.69 Internationalist Front 6 2 14 11 2 31 13 7 26 70 89 30 4.07 4.63 2.91 United Council of Workers Collectives 11 4 26 12 6 25 22 18 30 55 72 19 3.60 4.12 2.51 The Church 33 38 22 26 30 19 36 29 49 5 4 10 2.16 1.98 2.53 Independent Youth Groups 20 25 9 24 28 15 41 39 44 16 8 32 2.58 2.31 3.14 Estonian National Independence Party 13 15 8 19 24 10 41 44 36 27 17 46 2.97 2.68 3.55 * The average is taken from a five point scale where a lower value indicates greater support — 1 HIGHEST, 5 LOWEST P = Population as a whole E = Estonians From: Juhan Kivirahk, MAINOR N = Non-Estonians 123 TABLE III RESULTS OF GALLUP POLL IN ESTONIA. Published May 2, 1989 Estonians Non-estonians Total 1. Blue-black-white flag? Yes 88,1 24,0 64,6 Indifferent 3,2 30,2 13,1 No 6,0 31,1 15,2 Don't Know 2,3 11,8 5,8 No reply 0,3 3,0 1,3 2. Should the president of the republic be elected directly? Yes 77,1 69,8 74,5 No 8,5 4,1 6,9 Don't Know 9,9 10,4 10,1 Against 4,4 15,7 8,5 3. Multi-party system? Entirely For 58,0 22,8 45,1 Generally For 21,7 20,7 21,3 Generally Against 2,6 7,4 4,3 Entirely Against 1,2 9,5 4,2 4. Estonia's future? Soviet Socialist Republic 2,4 54,1 21,3 Federation of Republics 38,7 25,1 33,8 Independent Estonia 55,5 5,3 37,1 5. Which party would you support? Estonian Communist Party 7,2 32,2 16,3 Popular Front (Estonian National Movement) 50,3 8,9 35,2 Green 12,6 11,5 12,2 Estonian National Independence Party 9,6 0,9 6,4 Estonian Christian Federation 2,4 0,6 1,7 Farmers Union 7,5 4,1 6,3 Estonian Heritage Society 6,0 0,3 3,9 United Council of Worker's Collectives 0,2 17,8 2,3 Federation of Worker's Collectives 0,9„ 5,9 7,0 International Front 0,0 10,9 4,7 Support for movements with Estonian leadership 88,6 32,2 68,0 Support for non-Estonian movements 0,9 28,7 16,3 124 TABLE III Excerpts of a Popularity Poll of Leading Estonian Personalities; published in Noorte Haal, 18 February, 1989, p. 3 From a total of 964 respondents 63% were Estonians and 37% non-Estonians, 48% were men and 51% women, 27% with at least grade school education, 51% with at least high school, and 21% with higher education. 33% of respondents were from Tallinn, 8% from Tartu, 8% from Kohtla-Jarve and Narva, 22% from other towns in Estonia and 28% from rural areas. Question asked: Who would you vote for in a direct election to the highest political offices in Estonia out of 70 possible candidates? Possible answers and values: 5 - yes, definitely 4 - probably yes 3 - neutral 2 - probably not 1 - definitely not Ratings according to Estonian Respondents Name Affiliation Average Vote for (%) Vote Against 1. Marju Lauristin 2. Edgar Savisaar Popular Front Popular Front ECP ECP Greens Greens ECP Artists Council and Popular Front Popular Front Popular Front Popular Front ECP 4.82 4.75 4.72 4.73 4.68 4.66 4.65 4.60 97 95 93 93 93 93 93 91 1 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 3. Vaino Valjas 4. Arnold Ruutel 5. Tiit Made 6. Juhan Aare 7. Indrek Toome 8. Enn Poldroos 9. Mikk Mikiver 4.48 4.46 4.46 4.25 88 87 87 80 3 2 3 6 10. Siim Kallas 10. Heinz Valk 14. Mikk Titma 125 TABLE III (Continued) Name Affiliation Average Vote for (%) Vote Against 30. Rein Veideman Popular Front 3.70 56 12 36. Velio Pohla Greens 3.53 50 14 37. Trivimi Velliste EHS 3.48 49 19 45. Toomas Frey Greens 3.08 31 24 52. Mart Niklus ENIP 2.87 28 35 53. Lagle Parek ENIP 2.84 29 39 54. Mati Kiirend ENIP 2.72 14 31 55. Karl Kortelainen KGB 2.27 11 53 59. Georgi Aljoshin ECP (Old Guard) 2.00 8 69 66. Vladimir Jarovoi Internationalist Front 1.53 1 85 67. Igor Sepelevits Inter. Front 1.37 1 89 68. Arnold Sai Inter. Front 1.35 3 87 69. Gustav Naan Inter. Front 1.20 3 94 70. Jevgeny Kogan Inter. Front 1.14 1 96 Ratings According to Non-Estonian Respodents Name Affiliation Average Vote for (%) Vote Against 1. Vaino Valjas ECP 4.13 73 9 2. Arnold Ruutel ECP 3.83 61 13 3. Indrek Toome ECP 3.55 49 17 4. Mikhail Bronstein Academy of 3.41 44 19 Sciences 5. Boris Tamm ECP 3.21 33 21 6. Juhan Aare Greens 3.13 28 21 7. Enn Poldroos Artists Council 3.12 37 27 and Popular Front 8-9 Mikk Mikiver Popular Front 3.09 31 25 8-9 Igor Grazin Popular Front 3.09 27 23 10. Mikk Titma ECP 3.06 27 23 126 TABLE III (Continued) Name Affiliation Average Vote for (%) Vote Against 11. Marju Lauristin Popular Front 3.01 38 34 18. Edgar Savisaar Popular Front 2.87 28 33 19. Georgi Aljoshin ECP 2.87 26 32 24. Vladimir Jarovoi Inter. Front 2.81 23 33 29. Heinz Valk Popular Front 2.75 18 31 41. Rein Veideman Popular Front 2.65 11 30 42. Gustav Naan Inter. Front 2.64 24 38 45. Karl Kortelainen KGB 2.63 13 32 50. Igor Sepelevits Inter. Front 2.57 15 38 58. Jevgeny Kogan Inter. Front 2.53 22 45 65. Toomas Frey Greens 2.44 4 33 67. Mart Niklus ENIP 2.4 4 36 68. Arnold Sai Inter. Front 2.38 11 36 69. Mati Kiirend ENIP 2.36 2 36 70. Lagle Parek ENIP 2.21 7 47 127 III. FOCI OF IDENTIFICATION AND LOYALTY The Estonian political identity is rooted in a strong collective understanding, by Estonians, of their own culture and nationality. The emotive power of Estonian nationalism is best expressed by Estonian poet Jaan Kaplinski: One could say that, for Estonians, nationalism is their religion. Nationalism provides Estonians with the same things that faith gives to religious believers; what is nationalist is holy to us and unifies us. Our myths and rituals are, above all else, nationalist. This became apparent during 1988, the year of revolution and restoration, when we regained a chance to express our national identity more openly. Our national gatherings are much like church services; sermons are given and songs are sung. People rise for certain songs that are particularly 'holy'. They rise also for important symbols such as the blue, black and white national tricolor ... We have our heroes and martyrs, the latter of whom, thanks to the genius and leadership of Stalin, we have many of ... the life force of Estonian nationalism is perhaps best demonstrated by how powerfully nationalist-mythological consciousness has subsumed Christianity. In present circumstances the Lutheran Church is the servant of the nationalist movement-pastors bless the flag together with monuments in memory of the 1918 War of Independence and render rousing patriotic speeches.110 Kaplinski's analysis of what occupies the hearts and minds of Estonians is considerably different from the official 110Jaan Kaplinski, "Mu"ut, Mote ja Meie", Vikerkaar, 4 (1989), 80-81. 128 Soviet ideal of "internationalism" and "friendship of peoples" that still permeates the conservative Soviet bureaucracy, the armed forces and a large sector of the Party. Kaplinski's thesis is that Estonian loyalties and sense of political identity are rooted in archaic and archetypal patterns of thought that firmly reject attempts by an artificial "Soviet Culture" (based on the Russian language) to dominate and absorb Estonian. Underlying the Estonian reform movement are mythological patterns and modes of thought that manifest themselves in political activities. "Myth" is understood here as a description of past events in a primordial, primeval time that will somehow repeat themselves. More precisely, in many traditional cultures, including European Christendom before the Enlightenment, a mythical golden age existed in the past before a decline and fall brought the age to a close. Past history is a record of that decline while future history is the hope of paradise regained. Mythical modes of thinking see, in everything, the future return of great and important events of the primeval past and the necessity to aid the return of past glory through ritual activity. Myth and ritual work together in politics and religion to legitimize current policy and to sell hope for the future.111 i:L1Ibid., p. 78 129 In the past official Soviet ideology followed the same rules of mythical thought. Official Soviet history had its heroes and martyrs of the Revolution, its mythical war of good against evil and the "unlimited genius" and leadership of Stalin who promised salvation to the inhabitants of the future "workers' paradise". Stalin even resurrected the myths of Mother Russia and the Orthodox Church in order to mobilize people against Nazi Germany. Public life became mythologized and ritualized particularly toward the end of Brezhnev's power. Under Brezhnev, however, a noticeable shift in ideological-mythical focus became evident. The ideal primeval age was no longer the 1917 Revolution but the Great Patriotic War. The ritual public commemoration of past battles and the dead, through memorials, monuments and memoirs, became a constant aspect of everyday Soviet life. The deeper meaning of this shift was a transformation of outmoded messianic revolutionary ideology to the ideology of a world power that could now bask in the sunshine of "advanced socialism". Another factor was that Brezhnev and his generation did not directly experience the Revolution but their service during the Second World War could still be put to good use in public verification of their dedication to the Soviet State. The. open acceptance of these myths and rituals were, until quite recently, compulsory in all walks of Soviet life and subject to punishment if rejected.112 112Ibid. , p. 79-80 Under Gorbachev, the most far-reaching and tangible results of reform have been the changes in official ideology. Outmoded myths and rituals have been publicly discarded or abandoned and replaced by a rational, goal-oriented reform program that seeks to distance present Soviet domestic policy-making from older mythical patterns of thought. Paradoxically, however, in the attempt to demystify the past, one set of myths and rituals has been replaced by another. Perestroika and the demystification of knowledge is a process of restoration and reformation similar to other great reform movements of the past such as the reformation of the Christian Church after Luther. Perestroika harkens back to Lenin and the classics of Marxism, when theoretical justification and explanation are needed for reforms. The present problems of the Soviet Union are explained as the result of Stalin's deformation and distortion of Lenin and Marx. The mission of perestroika is to restore Leninist doctrine to its rightful place and return to the golden age of the Revolution before things went wrong. The myth of Lenin is considered by reformers as tactically useful against the dogmatism of the Stalinist counter-reformation and, just as importantly, provides those faithful, who actually wholeheartedly believe in the myth, with a quasi-spiritual source of support.113 113Ibid. p. 80. 131 Parallel to the Leninist reformation are two other types of new Soviet mythology, one religious and one nationalist. In both Soviet Islam and Christianity there are several movements that claim that current Soviet problems are the result of deviation from original Islamic or Christian teachings.114 Similarly, the many nationalities that form the Soviet Union now have room to explore and expand their own mythical roots. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are in the forefront of the new "restoration - reformation" of national myths, symbols and rituals with Armenia, Georgia, the Ukraine and Moldavia set to follow. Russian nationalism is also making a strong showing in the face of competition from other nationalities, and it is possible that in a very short time Gorbachev or his successors may feel compelled to replace Communist myths and symbols with Russian ones in a bid to maintain both public support and the pre-eminence of Russian as the lingua franca of the Soviet Union. In the Baltic, the mythical golden age to return to is for most, the time of independence and for others, even further back in history to the pre-christian era before the year 1200. In the words of Jaan Kaplinski: We (Estonians) have remained pagans in at least on important a«spect ... If Christianity and other monotheistic religions separated that which was sacred and holy from earthly concerns - (only God 114Ibid., pp. 80-81. 132 in heaven is truly holy) - then our religious nationalism is, in its own way, a restoration of holy places, rivers, lakes, trees, and graves and gives us a responsibility to guard and protect the land of our ancestors. And it appears that to protect their land is something that Estonians are truly willing to do.115 One of the best recent examples of the amalgamation of myth, symbolism and politics was the celebration of Estonian independence in Tallinn on February 24, 1989. For the first time since 1939, Estonia's interwar independence period became the object of official recognition and celebration, a direct reversal of previous policy which made mention of independence a taboo and possession of the blue, black and white tricolour flag a crime punishable with a prison sentence. The highlight of the independence day celebrations was the raising of the blue, black and white flag by the Estonian Communist Party and the Popular Front. In a sunrise ceremony overlooking the city of Tallinn approximately 150,000 people witnessed the unveiling of the new "national flag" and the restoration of the traditional symbol of Estonian nationhood to its former spot on the highest tower of Tallinn's medieval city centre. The red-coloured Soviet-era flag was removed from the Tower and put in a museum. Similar ceremonies were held in most other parts of Estonia and speeches by the heads of the 115lbid. p. 81. 133 Popular Front the Church and ECP were broadcast several times that day and the next over radio and television.116 The flag raising ceremony demonstrated the power, influence and depth of national feeling that lies just below the surface of Estonian society. The ECP and the PF successfully harnessed and released the collective emotions of Estonians in a cathartic purge of repressed feelings after nearly fifty years of official repression of nationalism. In his address at the ceremony ECP leader Vaino Valjas stated that Today we have taken yet another important step toward the restoration of the ancient rights and national awareness of the Estonian people ... History has been harsh to our nation. The Estonian Communist Party understands and accepts its role in this . . . The ECP of today and tomorrow must be a party of the people and receive its mandate to rule from the people.117 Prime Minister Indrek Toome called the ceremony "the most important event in Estonian history," an event that symbolized the return of Estonian territory to Estonian control and the elimination of obstacles to Estonian national self-determination.118 However, Toome added that the new flag was an Estonian symbol long before independence and that Estonia's 116"Ja Saabus Pa"ev", Rahva Haal, 25 February 1989, p. 1. 117lbid. p. 2-3. 118lbid. p. 2. 134 drive for national self-determination must take into account its continued membership in the Soviet Union. Popular Front luminary Edgar Savisaar reminded people that the establishment of Estonian independence seventy-one years ago was accompanied by the establishment of democracy, a multi-party political system, and the will to fight for and protect newly won political and territorial sovereignty. The hoisting of the independence era flag is, according to Savisaar, likewise a step forward on the road to sovereignty; it shows that we are our own masters and that we can now do here what we wish; it shows that we are the masters of our own history ... for decades [they] attempted to make us forget ourselves, make Estonians a people without a history. With the hoisting our flag we have found ourselves again ... Estonia is in our hands.119 Despite the national euphoria that surrounded the February 24 event not all Estonian citizens and political groups agreed with Savisaar that "we are now our own masters". The Estonian Heritage Society, The Estonian Christian Union and the Estonian National Independence Party organized their own separate ceremony and public meetings to protest what they termed as unseemly and inappropriate use of Estonian national symbols. In a fascinating and widely circulated speech, National Independence Party executive committee member Tunne Kelam strongly criticized the use of Estonia's national 119lbid. 135 symbols as "objects of political manipulation, particularly by institutions that only recently desecrated those symbols and severely punished those that supported those symbols."120 In unusually strong and direct language even by the new standards of glasnost, Kelam stated that the hoisting of the national flag by the PF the ECP in the tower traditionally occupied by the state flag left the false impress ion that actual independence had already been achieved. According to Kelam the purpose of the flag-raising was the exact opposite: to bury the concept of true independence under an avalanche of propaganda and nationalist symbolism; to lull the West into renouncing its claims that the Baltic States were illegally annexed by the Soviet Union; and to distort the actual definition of the term "sovereignty" so that its meaning conforms to continued membership within the Soviet empire. But what if Moscow recovers from its current political crisis? There are no guarantees that Estonia would not at some future time suffer a conservative backlash accompanied by a new terror under demographic conditions even more unfavourable to Estonian survival than at present. According to Kelam, despite glasnost and perestroika, Estonia is presently still ruled by a one party dictatorship with the aid of the secret police. Democratization is an empty and meaningless phrase ""Documentation from EHS Head Office in Tallinn, photocopy of Tunne Kelam address on February 24, 1989 in Tallinn. 136 until Estonia escapes from its status as a militarily occupied colony and becomes an independent democratic state with a multiparty system. Kelam felt, however, that the raising of the flag in Tallinn still has some value.121 He stated that the flag on the Toompea tower signals the beginning of the end for the forces of occupation. However, there is no time to waste. The only road ahead is through political self-initiative outside of the official power structure — the road to the restoration of the independent Estonian republic. An empire based on evil and falsehood cannot be reformed. Its cancerous energy will only devour what is humane and good. Our only hope and solution is to unify as Estonians and demand an end to military occupation, form an Estonian government that will guarantee that Estonians decide their own political future and, lest we forget, only with the protection and grace of God can the Estonian people survive and prosper. The ECP-Popular Front position and the views reflected in Kelam's speech at the EHS-ENIP-Christian Union rally were similar with respect to their use of political myths and symbols. Both groups sought political support through appeals for national unity and allegiance to a reawakened Estonian national identity. They incorporated religious elements into their appeals and successfully integrated mythical and 121Kelam Ibid. 137 symbolic aspects of religion, politics, and nationalism into a powerful tool that garnered a significant public response. Their differences, however, illustrated a fundamental divide in political orientation. The ECP - PF declaration to commemorate the founding of the Estonian state stressed the positive aspects of Soviet reforms and the importance of working within existing Soviet political structures in order to obtain political concessions for Estonia. The EHS-ENIP-Christian Union coalition strongly opposed the plan and, in a separate declaration, called for direct secession from the Soviet Union and the establishment of Estonian citizens committees (i.e., those who were full citizens on June 17, 1940 the date of Soviet occupation and their descendants) who would, by means of a republican referendum, decide the fate of Estonia independent of Moscow's influence.122 A year earlier, the differences in orientation would not have been significant. Most citizens were still afraid to publicly express their concerns; secession and unconditional independence were advocated openly only by a small group surrounding the MRP-AEG organization. Even by the end of 1988, as shown by the MAINOR poll of December, the majority of citizens surveyed favoured a gradual and careful approach to independence so as not to alarm the conservative opposition in Moscow. By early 1989, however, open advocacy of independence 122Soltumatu I n f o k e s k u s Teade NR. 158. 138 r a p i d l y g a i n e d momentum as p u b l i c d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h the s low p a c e of r e f o r m i n c r e a s e d and the e m o t i o n a l power of E s t o n i a n n a t i o n a l i s m t h r e a t e n e d t o expand o u t s i d e t h e b o u n d a r i e s of p u b l i c s a f e t y . The c h a l l e n g e for the ECP was how to h a r n e s s the f o r c e and depth of n a t i o n a l sentiment i n t h e i r favour and s t i l l channel those e n e r g i e s i n a d i r e c t i o n t h a t a v o i d e d an o u t r i g h t e x p l o s i o n of p u b l i c a n g e r and h o s t i l i t y ; h e n c e t h e government s p o n s o r e d f l a g - r a i s i n g ceremony of E s t o n i a ' s "Independence Day". The o u t b r e a k of h o s t i l i t i e s m a t e r i a l i z e d i n s t e a d from s e c t o r s of the non-Estonian p o p u l a t i o n , some of whom appeared d e e p l y o f f e n d e d by t h e F e b r u a r y 24 c e r e m o n i e s . T h e I n t e r n a t i o n a l i s t Movement (IM) managed to m o b i l i z e f o r t y thousand p a r t i c i p a n t s to attend an IM r a l l y i n T a l l i n n , and i t a n g r i l y p r o t e s t e d a g a i n s t p e r c e i v e d i n j u s t i c e s to the c i v i l r i g h t s of n o n - E s t o n i a n s . The IM demanded the removal of the E s t o n i a n f l a g from the Toompea tower, the replacement of the " N a t i o n a l i s t " ECP l e a d e r s h i p and the formation of a s e p a r a t e o b l a s t for non-Estonians i n northeastern E s t o n i a with T a l l i n n as i t s c a p i t a l . I n p a r t i c u l a r , the IM demanded t h a t Popular Front o f f i c i a l Edgar S a v i s a a r be t r i e d i n a court of law f o r s l a n d e r i n g the S o v i e t f l a g i n h i s speech at the February 24 ceremonies. . S a v i s a a r ' s offending words were: Yesterday a f l a g was lowered from the Toompea Tower t h a t d i d not honour our n a t i v e p e o p l e . We must s t a t e o u t r i g h t t h a t the g o a l s represented by t h a t f l a g have not been r e a l i z e d . . . Our [Estonian] f l a g 139 i s unique i n that one colour i s absent — the c o l o u r of blood and revenge which adorns the f l a g s of many p e o p l e s . 1 2 3 A l t h o u g h t h e IM r e p r e s e n t e d a m i n o r i t y of E s t o n i a ' s 6 0 0 , 0 0 0 n o n - E s t o n i a n s , the g r o u p ' s o r i e n t a t i o n n o n e t h e l e s s r e f l e c t e d long-s immering h o s t i l i t i e s t h a t now t h r e a t e n e d t o i g n i t e p a s s i o n s between a wider spectrum of E s t o n i a n s and non-E s t o n i a n s . G l a s n o s t had suddenly l i f t e d r e s t r i c t i o n s on the e x p r e s s i o n of e t h n i c g r i e v a n c e s but provided no mechanisms for t h e i r r e s o l u t i o n . L a c k of p o l i t i c a l e x p e r i e n c e and t h e a b s e n c e o f p o l i t i c a l c h a n n e l s to r e c t i f y e t h n i c d i s p u t e s c r e a t e d an e x p l o s i v e s i t u a t i o n whereby p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t y c o n s i s t e d of s y m b o l i c gestures of n a t i o n a l i s t sentiment t h a t u s u a l l y bypassed l o g i c and reason, p a r t i c u l a r l y among the non-E s t o n i a n m i n o r i t i e s . 1 2 4 The e t h n i c d i v i d e i s r e f l e c t e d i n the c l a s h of myth and s y m b o l b e t w e e n E s t o n i a n s and n o n - E s t o n i a n s . From t h e p e r s p e c t i v e of many n o n - E s t o n i a n s , the Soviet Union i s t h e i r common, r i g h t f u l home r e g a r d l e s s of the r e p u b l i c or o b l a s t t h e y r e s i d e i n . Decades of S o v i e t e d u c a t i o n and p o l i t i c a l s o c i a l i z a t i o n h a v e c r e a t e d d i s t o r t e d a s s u m p t i o n s among R u s s i a n s c o n c e r n i n g h i s t o r y and n a t i o n a l i t y problems. The S o v i e t " i n t e r n a t i o n a l i s t s , " with t h e i r Brezhnev era myths and 1 2 3 V o l d e m a r P i n n , "Miks Nad N i i K a " i t u v a d ? " , S i r p j a V a s a r , 3 1 March 1989, p. 3. 1 2 4Edgar S a v i s a a r , Rahva H a " a l , p. 2. 140 s y m b o l s i n t a c t , b e l i e v e t h a t , i n t h e c a s e of t h e B a l t i c s t a t e s , S o v i e t f o r c e s l i b e r a t e d a backward a g r a r i a n s o c i e t y from the g r i p of Nazi Germany and gave them l i t e r a c y , c u l t u r e and e c o n o m i c p r o g r e s s . They h a v e been t a u g h t t h a t t h e E s t o n i a n independent r e p u b l i c was r u l e d by a bloody, f a s c i s t d i c t a t o r s h i p i n l e a g u e w i t h H i t l e r ' s Germany; t h a t modern E s t o n i a was b u i l t with R u s s i a n hands a f t e r the war a t a time when b a n d i t gangs of E s t o n i a n s p i l l a g e d the c o u n t r y s i d e ; t h a t the s i t u a t i o n was saved only through the h e r o i c a c t i o n s of the KGB and the S o v i e t armed f o r c e s whose members were R u s s i a n ; and t h a t t o d a y ' s h i g h s t a n d a r d of l i v i n g i n t h e B a l t i c r e l a t i v e to the r e s t of the Soviet Union was achieved at the expense and e x p l o i t a t i o n of the r e s t of the S o v i e t Union. The B a i t s are u n g r a t e f u l and not to be t r u s t e d . 1 2 5 Analogous myths hold credence on the E s t o n i a n s i d e : the R u s s i a n s ( a l o n g w i t h other S o v i e t e t h n i c groups) a r e l a z y , s h i f t l e s s and a g g r e s s i v e ; they moved h e r e w i t h t h e s o l e purpose of making l i f e miserable for people i n the B a l t i c ; the R u s s i a n s are r e s p o n s i b l e for a l l our problems and i f not for them a l l would be w e l l . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , E s t o n i a n views of R u s s i a n s a r e o f t e n r e i n f o r c e d by R u s s i a n s t h e m s e l v e s . The problem of R u s s i a n c h a u v i n i s m , t h a t r e c e i v e d new l i f e under S t a l i n and continued under Brezhnev,- i s a fundamental problem i n the f i e l d of Soviet n a t i o n a l i t y r e l a t i o n s . I n e d u c a t i o n , 1 2 5 J a a n K a p l i n s k i , "Et T u " l i E i T u l e k s " , E d a s i , 25 March 1988, p. 3 . 141 w r i t t e n h i s t o r y and the economic and p o l i t i c a l h i e r a r c h y , R u s s i a n s have t r a d i t i o n a l l y been the f i r s t among e q u a l s , a s e l f - p r o c l a i m e d "super ior" c u l t u r e that b r i n g s b e n e f i t s to a l l who would i n t e g r a t e with i t . 1 2 6 I n summation, the f o c i of p o l i t i c a l i d e n t i t y and l o y a l t y of E s t o n i a n s and n o n - E s t o n i a n s i n the B a l t i c a r e l a n g u a g e , c u l t u r e and e t h n i c group membership. L a c k o f p o l i t i c a l s o p h i s t i c a t i o n i n Moscow and the absence of i n s t i t u t i o n a l p o l i t i c a l m a c h i n e r y to d e a l with e t h n i c t e n s i o n s g u a r a n t e e t h a t , i n the near term, n a t i o n a l i t y problems i n the B a l t i c and e l s e w h e r e i n t h e S o v i e t U n i o n w i l l s u r f a c e i n e m o t i o n a l o u t b u r s t s of popular sentiment t h a t may c r e a t e Lebanons and Northern I r e l a n d s i n s i d e the p o l i t i c a l morass that i s S o v i e t n a t i o n a l i t y r e l a t i o n s . The s o l e r e c i p i e n t s of b e n e f i t s from t h e s e c r i s e s w i l l be the c o n s e r v a t i v e , S t a l i n i s t remnants of the S o v i e t government and bureaucracy that helped c r e a t e the problem i n the f i r s t p l a c e . N a t i o n a l i t y problems p r o v i d e c o n s e r v a t i v e s i n the c e n t r a l m i n i s t r i e s with o p p o r t u n i t i e s to o r c h e s t r a t e the i n c r e a s e of e t h n i c d i s c o r d and s i m u l t a n e o u s l y demand a r e s t o r a t i o n of n e o - S t a l i n i s t law and o r d e r t h a t g u a r a n t e e s t h e c o n t i n u a t i o n of power and p r i v i l e g e . The tragedy i s that i n the heat of c o n f l i c t opposing S o v i e t e t h n i c groups and n a t i o n a l i t i e s w i l l lose s i g h t of the f a c t that they 126lbid. 142 are victims of the same political and economic system of exploitation.127 127lbid. 143 IV. POLITICAL KNOWLEDGE AND POLITICAL EXPECTATIONS (A) Political Knowledge The level of a nation's political knowledge (i.e., political awareness) is highly dependent on (i) environmental factors such as geographic location and (ii) systemic factors such as the availability of education and media information that provide knowledge of alternative political systems. (i) Estonia's location on the Baltic coast gives Estonians a unique window on Western Europe that is unavailable in other areas of the Soviet Union. Estonians regard themselves as culturally, historically and geographically a part of Europe and therefore fundamentally different from other Soviet peoples in terms of basic values and beliefs. Absent here are traditions of despotism and Russian Christian orthodoxy that permeate Russian and Soviet culture. A European orientation provides Estonians with a political yardstick with which to measure their economic and social progress that is very different from the Soviet norm. Estonia's western contacts include Finnish television, European radio, tourism, and numerous sports, cultural and trade exchanges. After decades of enforced isolation, Estonia is on the verge of cultural and political reintegration with Western Europe. Western correspondents and official delegations now regularly visit Estonia to attend information 144 seminars and conferences organized by the PF and the ECP. February 1989 saw the first official visit to Estonia since the Second World War of the Norwegian ambassador to Moscow. His delegation was preceded by the Swedish ambassador in December 1988, and the Finnish ambassador in January of 1989. Arnold Green, the Estonian foreign minister, has repeatedly spoken of the work done to open Estonian legations in neighbouring countries. Although enshrined in the Soviet Constitution, the provisions that outline the rights of individual Union republics to manage certain sectors of their foreign policy have never been used or put into effect.128 A visit of particular interest to both Moscow and Estonia was a delegation of members of the European parliament of the EEC at the end of February 1989. Their arrival came shortly after the European parliament adopted a resolution calling for the Soviet Union to grant increased freedoms to the Baltic Republics. The resolution passed on January 19, 1989 made special reference to the Declaration of Sovereignty passed by the Estonian parliament on November 16, 1988, and recalled the fact that the member countries of the European Community have never acknowledged the annexation of the Baltic States under the 1939 Hitler-Stalin Pact.129 128Joel Aav, "Norwegian Ambassador Makes First Visit to Estonia since WW II," Kodumaa (English Supplement), 15 February 1989, p. 1. 129Tarmu Tammerk, "European Parliament views the Baltic issue," Kodumaa (English Supplement), 1 February 1989, p. 1. 145 Although Moscow's interest in the visit of the EEC delegation to Estonia stemmed in part from the ongoing dispute between Moscow and the Baltic Republics over who retains authority over foreign affairs, the Soviet leadership was also very conscious of the Soviet Union's newly cultivated political image in Western Europe. At the end of March 1989, Swedish-Estonian journalist Andres Rung organized an information seminar in Estonia for members of Scandinavian Liberal Democratic political parties where Party leaders from Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland indicated that, in their view, Gorbachev's prestige in Europe depended to a great extent on his attitude toward political liberalization in the Baltic.130 (ii) Educational levels and literacy are generally high in Estonia but the education system still suffers from the after-effects of decades of Sovietization. Sovietization of education meant the censorship amd unavailability of many non-Soviet information sources and the presentation of distorted versions of history, the outside world, and the substance of their own political system. Perestroika and glasnost, however, created intense confusion within the education system over the permissible boundaries of new information in the humanities and the social sciences. In practical terms, the educational system was an integral part of the stagnation-era 130Vainu Rozental, "Po_hjamaade Liberaalid Eestis", Edasi, 25 March 1989, p. 2. 146 bure aucracy and social hierarchy, and cannot now adapt rapidly enough to keep pace with political developments. The problems are particularly acute in institutions of research and higher educat ion. The Estonian Academy of Sciences, for example, has been accused of being little more than a hierarchy of academic titles — a bloated, cor rupt, and inefficient system based on stagnation-era ideals, political intrigues, and ' Lysenkoism' that purposely excludes the meaningful application of science to contemporary social problems.131 One example of promising developments on the horizon is the decision taken at the Tallinn Polytechnical Institute to replace the study of "scientific communism" with the Soviet Union's first department of political science. Department head, Professor Jusef Livshich, stated in an interview with the Estonian news agency ETA that over time "scientific communism" became "a distorted theory to justify the deformation of the social system." The introduction of the Western-style study of political science, according to Professor Livshich, will provide a vitally necessary adjunct to the traditionally one-sided education of Estonian technical students and help integrate Estonian education into the world educational system. Professor Livschich cited the 131Lembit Sulbi, "Teadus, Demokraatia ja Rahvamajandus," Edasi, 10 February 1989, p. 4. Lysenkoism is a reference to Soviet geneticist Lysenko, who under Stalin, crippled Soviet science for decades through his propagation of nonsensical methods and directives. 147 Massachusetts's Institute of Technology as an ideal model to follow.132 While Estonian understanding of alternative political systems has been hindered by the lack of objective official information, Estonians are, nevertheless, surprisingly well informed of world events and alternative governing systems. Knowledge of alternative political systems continues to make rapid inroads in Estonia, but the application of political alternatives is still in the first stages of experimentation and evolution. However, Estonians do have a fundamental understanding of their own political system from decades of experience at bending the existing order in order to survive in conditions that are often incomprehensible to non-Soviets. The power of the hidden "second economy" is such that state authorities are now forced to permit even state enterprises to purchase goods and supplies from unofficial channels. Decades of powerlessness and secret government have also left their mark in terms of cynicism and resignation among citizens. They innately comprehend the substance and shortcomings of their system from constantly having to work around it. Before glasnost and perestroika, the Estonian political system was considered to be a grotesque charade of falsehoods and 132Margareta Kornysheva, "Scientific Communism gives way to political science," Kodumaa (English Supplement), 15 February, 1989, p. 2. 148 corruption.133 Estonian historian Juhan Tamm states that, in hindsight, the ECP's pretentions of public support and economic success rested on its claims of increases in party membership and quantitative economic indicators while the collective personal experience of Estonians, in contrast, was steady social and economic retardation. To Estonians, glasnost is a reaffirmation of what they have known for decades about their own political system.134 Since early 1988, changes in official information policy have spawned an information explosion. In eighteen months, the press has evolved from a dogmatic tool of state propaganda into a dynamic catalyst for public political participation. In a recent poll conducted by the Estonian Communist Party daily Rahva Haal, 89.3 percent of those questioned indicated that the Estonian press is now more credible as a whole.135 The study consisted of a representative sample of 942 Estonian-speaking respondents between the ages of 16 and 70 and gave a comprehensive picture of Estonians' attitudes and current interests in relation to public affairs at the end of March, 1989. In ranking the sources of information about Estonian matters, 83.9 percent of respondents relied on 133Juhan Tamm, "Autoriteedi Defitsiit," Edasi, 9 February 1989, p. 2. 134Ibid. 135Toomas Leito, "You can rely on Estonian press now," Kodumaa (English Supplement), 29 March 1989, p. 1. 149 Estonian television, 75.9 percent on Estonian radio, 66.9 percent on the progressive Tartu-based daily Edasi, and 54.4 percent read Rahva Haal. Reliance on Western radio (BBC, VOA, and Radio Liberty) and Finnish television (the main source of truthful information just a few years ago) dropped to 8.7 and 15.4 percent respectively. The Soviet national newspapers Pravda and Izvestia were regularly read by only 1 and 0.6 percent of respondents. The topics respondents were most interested in were: demographic problems (96.3 percent), immigration of non-Estonians (94.8), Estonian economic self-management (93.7), inter-ethnic relations (93.3), "blank spots" of history (92.3), and the activity of Estonia's leadership (90.8). The topics of least interest were: socialist competition and the fulfillment of production plans (9.1 percent), ideological education (9.8), theoretical problems of Marxism and Leninism (11.1), history of the Communist Party and revolutionary struggle (20.4), and the marking of Soviet holidays and anniversaries (21.4). (B) Political Expectations The poll by Rahva Haal also compared attitudes towards the progress of perestroika in Estonia with the Soviet Union as a whole. 11.1 percent of Soviet respondents thought life will improve in the near future, 30.3 percent thought that no change will occur and 32.9 percent expected the situation to deteriorate. The respective figures for Estonians were that 150 49.4 percent expected improvement, 11.9 no change and 17.8 percent were convinced quality of life would continue to decline. The figures, however, do not necessarily indicate that Estonians have faith in perestroika per se. The current political mood in Estonia is that perestroika is a valiant but futile attempt to reorganize and reform an empire that is rotten, corrupt, and in collapse. The sole perceived benefit of perestroika and glasnost is the creation of conditions that would enable Estonia to sever ties with Moscow and survive on its own. Estonians are unwilling to wait for the rest of the Soviet Union to catch up to the Baltic in their struggle for democratization, and Estonians feel they are ready now (indeed, long overdue) for the restoration of independence and democracy. In the eyes of Estonians, Russian and Soviet culture is incapable of making the transition from their peculiar brand of totalitarian feudalism to social democracy in time to guarantee Estonia's continued survival as a national and cultural entity. Estonian political expectations center on a very different concept of democracy from the "socialist democracy" of official Soviet political culture.136 Estonians contend that their own vision of western-style parliamentary democracy and national self-determination cannot be reconciled with the 136Information presented in this paragraph is taken from: Ti it Matsulevich, "Nelja Polvkonna Paranoia. Kujutelmad ja Reaalid Noukogude Sotsialismis," Vikerkaar, 11/1988, pp. 62-67. 151 "socialist democracy" of perestroika unless "socialist democracy" is based on constitutional guarantees of civil and human rights, and actual rule of law. To Estonians, socialist democracy is an imagined ideology of privilege and power of the select few, a farcical and fictitious entity produced from the imagination and paranoia of four generations of Soviet rulers. For Soviet rulers, "Socialist democracy" was the desired opposite of "bourgeois democracy", a stage before the victory of communism and the creation of the ideal society. The term "socialist democracy", however, holds no intellectual meaning for Estonians. The word "socialist™ has lost its philosophical context and is used in a pejorative and territorial sense to describe nations and states with entrenched one-party communist systems; Hungary and Poland are "socialist" but Sweden is aot. Similarly, "democracy" for Estonians is neither "socialist" nor "bourgeois"; it is the fight against monopolization of power and privilege in Soviet politics and the economy. Neither is the concept of "socialist rule of law" convincing to citizens who feel that they are the objects of state policy. In Soviet and Russian political culture human rights are traditionally a privilege granted by the state, an instrument of public policy for the promotion of political stability. "Rule of law" in the Soviet Union has meant the right of the state to limit civil and human rights for any purpose so long as it does so by law. Estonians feel that herein lies the fundamental cultural 152 difference between the Baltic and the rest of the Soviet Union. Estonians want to be the subjects of state policy, not the objects. Guarantees of human and civil rights are for them inalienable by virtue of birth, they are ultimate values and ends, in and of themselves. To Estonians, the ideological soul of the Soviet Union is incapable of making the quantum leap from a society where rights and privileges are circumstantial (i.e., dependent on decisions from above and outside the individual citizen) to a society where human rights are derived from the fact of a person's very existence. As a consequence of their separate cultural development, Estonians have greater political expectations than participation within the Soviet system can offer. 153 V. CONCLUSIONS; ESTONIA IN SEPTEMBER 1989; TOWARD A NEW POLITICAL CULTURE The political culture of Estonians, i.e., the pervasive cultural environment in which Estonians make their political choices, is a complex product derived from their historical experience as a conquered people, their strong identification with their language and cultural traditions, and their geographic proximity to Western Europe. From Tallinn the world looks very different than from Moscow. From the Estonian perspective, life is translated through cultural filters that create a social awareness very different from that experienced by those in power at the center of the Soviet system and by the flood of immigrants who have settled in Estonia since World War II. The Estonian perception of themselves as an oppressed people is strongly conditioned by their critical demographic situation. The population of the independent Estonian Republic in 1938 was 1,131,125 people, with Estonians comprising 93.3% of the total.137 World War II drastically changed the ethnically homogenous nature of Estonian demography. Estonia lost 24% of its total population to emigration, death and deportation. In terms of ethnic homogeneity, Estonians in 1945. made up 97.1% of the population, in 1950 — 75%, 1959 — 74%, 1970 — 68.2%, 1979 137T. Made, pp. 236-137. 154 — 64.7%, and in 1986 — 61.3%. Since World War II the rate of immigration has been an average of 13,000 new arrivals every year. At this rate Estonians will become a minority within their own republic at the latest by the year 2005. Estonian ethnographic scholar Lennart Meri analogously compares the Estonian situation to that of Moscow if, suddenly the population of the Soviet capital swelled to 15 million and half of the residents were now Chinese. The Chinese would then assume the role of "elder brother" to Russians and conduct the everyday affairs of the city in Chinese. Local customs would change to fit the new cultural mix.138 According to Meri, the demographic changes experienced by Estonians within the space of one generation have been similar in terms of proportion and the shock of having to accept and absorb an alien culture. With respect to political democratization, Estonians feel that, in comparison to Western Europe, they are on the outside looking in. On the one hand, they were told through traditional Soviet political education that Estonians are citizens of the world's most democratic country. On the other hand, Estonians have always known that this is a distortion of reality. Now that Soviet authorities feel compelled to make "improvements" to Soviet "democracy"-, Estonians and Baits feel frustrated by having to wait for the rest of the Soviet Union 127lbid. 155 to experiment and tinker with political reforms that Estonians see as both self-evident and necessary. Estonians don't want to renovate the Soviet system. They want to build a new political house from the ground up without outside interference. Without sovereignty, i.e., the ability to run their own affairs, Baits feel that there is no future. The question remains: how can political sovereignty be achieved within the limited framework of perestroika? The revolutionary events of 1988 showed that the Estonian cultural infrastructure was intact after 50 years of Soviet rule, and, with the arrival of glasnost, formed the basis of an overwhelming unifying nationalist force as a defence against outside cultural and political invasion. The new problem in 1989 was how to move ahead with meaningful political change so that reform would not stagnate and remain empty talk without action, glasnost without perestroika. The events of 1988 demonstrated that Estonians and Estonian political groups were united in their desire to distance themselves from Moscow and achieve increased political, cultural and economic independence. However, differences between political groups in Estonia were evident with respect to the strategy and tactics necessary to achieve their goals. In September, 1988, Estonians were roughly divisible into two separate orientations, centrist and restorationist. The non-Estonian sector of the population in turn either remained a silent minority or aligned themselves 156 with the neo-Stalinist Internationalist Front (Inter-dvizhenie) . These three competing political forces remained prominent throughout 1989. The difference a year later, in September 1989, was that the Stalinists and restorationists became better organized, while the centrists became radicalized. (A) In 1988, Stalinist groups, under the umbrella of the Internationalist front, organized in reaction to the Estonian Popular Front but remained relatively quiet. By the beginning of March, 1989, the IM threatened to organize strikes among Russian workers in response to the Estonian Independence Day celebrations. Organized political strikes at defence plants and work stoppages in the transport sector became a reality in late July, 1989, and paralleled the massive coal miners' strikes elsewhere in the Soviet Union. The specific complaints of the IM were that Estonians would not take into account the wishes of the non-Estonian minority in their newly drafted language legislation and election laws that contained residency requirements for immigrant voters and electoral candidates. At an IM strike committee rally in Tallinn on July 21, 1989, IM leader Jiiri Rudjak claimed that anti-perestroika forces and "separatists" in Estonia were supported by the ECP leadership and threatened "to destroy socialism", and that Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are in the grip of 157 "Baltic apartheid.1,139 Another IM leader, Russian-Estonian representative to the new USSR Supreme Soviet, Jevgeny Kogan, spoke at the first working session of the legislative body and warned of imminent violence if Russian-Estonian demands for electoral fairness are not met.140 In a subsequent editorial that condemned "nationalist extremism" among the Baltic Popular Fronts, Pravda praised the IM in Estonia and analogous movements in other republics as being the guardians of perestroika and the constitutional rights of Soviet citizens in non-Russian republics. Estonians, meanwhile, are incensed that the IM can mobilize the central press to write slanted articles about Estonian events and still claim that their rights and democratic freedoms are compromised. In addition, Estonians and non-Estonians alike are angry over the IM1s claim that it speaks for and represents the interests of the majority of Estonia's 600,000 non-Estonians. Estonian opinion surveys (see end of Chapter II) show that neo-Stalinist groups have low support among Russian speakers because of the IM's desire to turn back the political clock to the era of stagnation, dictatorship and repression. The IM, however, has a distinct political advantage over the 'silent majority' of non-Estonians, in that they have powerful allies in Moscow and access to the central media. IM officials, 139Peeter Raidla, "Dogmade Ku"usis," Rahva Haal, 8 August, 1989, p. 4. 140Rahva Ha"al, 8 August, 1989, p. 4. 158 through their past experience in the Party and state bureaucracies, also possess greater organizational capabilities to stage political meetings and demonstrations that do ordinary citizens. At the end of July, 1989, the IM managed to mobilize 50,000 participants to a rally in Tallinn by busing in supporters from Leningrad and Moscow. With the permission of the central ministries, local defence industry managers closed their plants and locked out their workers in order to depict greater support for the state than was actually the case. Many non-Estonians find the activities of the IM embarrassing and support Estonia's drive for economic decentralization. On the other hand, Russian reformers begin to hesitate where issues of cultural autonomy arise, and ask whether territorial autonomy could not be the prelude to secession, and the loss of their jobs and lifestyle. The danger of increased polarization along ethnic lines is very real. In the event of increased tension, the sizeable non-Estonian population may yet be harnessed by the IM to create a Russian nationalist backlash against Estonian nationalist initiatives. Through support from allies in Moscow, the IM has grown in the course of a year from a disorganized frinqe group to a vocal protagonist in Estonian politics and will continue to play an important role in the ongoing struggle for power.141 127lbid. 159 (B) To Estonian restorationists, the activities of the IM in 1989 only reaffirmed the commitment to the restorationist cause. The ranks of the ENIP were bolstered by support from radicalized student and Christian groups and by the shift of the Estonian Heritage Society, in the wake of the February 24. Independence day events, from an apolitical centrist approach to an avowed espousal of restorationism. Their common position is roughly as follows: The ENIP, the EHS and the Christian Union contend that the PF and ECP positions are irreconcilable with the political aspirations of Estonians for total independence.142 Time is short, and there is only one road out of the Soviet morass: the restoration of the pre-war Estonian republic, not the restoration of a limited "independence." In the maelstrom of change sweeping the Soviet Union, there is now a power vacuum; old laws no longer apply but new rules are not yet in force. The Soviet Empire, in its state of collapse, still threatens to demolish the Estonian nation, and Estonians do not have the time to wait and see if economic self-management as a Soviet republic is successful. It is not enough to void the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and replace an illegal agreement with a questionable "Treaty of the Union." A new Treaty that would, 142Translation from Rahva Ha"al, 18 August, 1989, p. 4. 160 in effect, legalize the illegal annexation of the Baltic is pointless, particularly if negotiated between parties with no direct mandate from the people. Not only the MRP must be voided, but the Tartu Peace Treaty of 1920 (by which the Soviet Union renounced all claims on Estonia) must be acknowledged as still in force. Estonians have never legally or formally voided the existence of the pre-Soviet Estonian state or renounced the validity of its laws. If Estonians are to have true democracy, then the future of Estonia must be decided only by Estonian citizens (i.e., those who were citizens at the time of annexation in 1940 and their descendants). The ENIP, EHS and Christian Union advocate that citizen committees elect delegates to an Estonian Congress that would decide the Estonian question outside of existing constraints of state power. Participation in the Soviet Union holds no value for Estonians and has severely endangered Estonia's future. Estonia should aim for independence along the lines of the Hungarian model, a model that ensures independence but poses no threats to Soviet geo-political interests.143 By September, 1989, slightly over 200,000 Estonians were signed as members of citizen committees in preparation for an Estonian Congress some time in 1990.- Of some significance was 127lbid. 161 the fact the 25,000 of those registered were native Russian-speakers, equal in number to the core activists of the IM.144 (C) The centrist position in 1989 can be summarized as follows: The PF and the progressive wing of the ECP maintain that the only realistic method by which to break the dependency of the republics on the Soviet center in Moscow is by an incremental advance of independence through political negotiation.145 They hope to change the status of the Estonian republic through existing legal channels, by a Treaty of the Union, from a colony to a sovereign state. Because the sovereignty of the Soviet republics is fictitious (i.e., a 'paper' right), the PF seeks to actualize the relevant Soviet constitutional provisions involved through a Treaty with Moscow that clearly outlines the aims of the Union; that determines that all-Union organs of power are composed of Republican representatives on the basis of parity and equality of all Soviet republics; that ensures that the signatories involved (i.e., the sovereign republics) draft the Treaty themselves; and that replaces the unitary and homogenized Soviet state created by Stalin with the federalism promised under Lenin. Central to the negotiation of the Treaty,, 144Kodumaa, September 13, 1989, p. 4. 145Marju Lauristin, "Ise Ku"sin, Ise Vastan," Maaleht, 9 March 1989, p. 13. And also, Marju Lauristin, "Avalik Vastus Avalikule Kirjale," Maaleht, 30 April 1989, p. 7. 162 according to the PP, is the renunciation and cancellation of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by Moscow, and Moscow's recognition that Estonia was forcibly occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union. The aim of the PF, in particular, is to restore Estonian sovereignty and independence through democratization of the existing social and political system. Democratization includes the right of citizens to engage freely in political activity, the establishment of a multi-party electoral system, and the elimination of one-party poli tics ( a pos i t ion on which the ECP is still spli t). Especially important is the achievement of economic self-management. Ninety percent of the Estonian economy is either directly or indirectly controlled by central ministries in Moscow, and without economic independence there can be no political sovereignty. In the view of the ECP, to race ahead and demand immediate independence and secession is a dangerous course that will spark a hostile reaction from Moscow and play into the hands of conservative elements within and outside of Estonia; these elements would gladly use a growth in political and ethnic tensions to re-introduce repressive political controls. If we picture the present alignment of political organizations from left to right in terms of attitudes toward independence, our spectrum is as follows: 163 (INTERDVIZHENIE) INTERNATIONALIST FRONT AND AFFILIATES 1 ESI COf PAI 'ON IAN 1MUNIST !TY POPULAR FRONT 1 GREENS ESTONIAN HERITAGE SOCIETY ESTONIAN NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE PARTY INDEPENDENT UNAFFILIATED YOUTH RADICAL STUDENTS GROUPS STALINISTS (BACK TO FORMER 1 1 CENTRISTS (INCREMENTAL REFORM) 1 t" RESTORATIONISTS (UNC 1 CONDITIONAL INI 1" 3EPENDENCE) STATUS QUO) NP: The simplified listing above is by no means exhaustive and shows only key players. The situation is in fact a much more complex process than can be illustrated here. The far left is occupied by the neo-Stalinist Soviet Empire loyalists of the Internationalist Front, some of whom are also members of the conservative wing of the ECP. The ECP is in turn fragmented into Russian and Estonian sectors, and p r o g r e s s i v e , m o d e r a t e , and conservative f a c t i o n s . The progressive elements of the ECP are leading figures within the PF and the Greens. The PF and the Greens are themselves fragmented and factionalized, with the more radical members conforming to positions advocated by the EHS. At the far right of the s p e c t r u m are the ENIP, the U n a f f i l i a t e d (Independent) Youth and several radical student organizations that advocate the immediate removal of Soviet armed forces from Estonia and the immediate abdication of Soviet power from the Baltic. The dynamic growth of political activity is such that in the event of unrestricted, multiparty elections the 164 ECP and the PF could each fragment into three or four separate parties. Unrestricted elections are, of course, still a theoretical question at this time. Under present conditions, there exists a "pluralism" of public o p i n i o n with no corresponding electoral mechanism beyond the new Soviet Congress and the Estonian Supreme Soviet to translate public expectations into political reality; therefore, larger political organizations (ECP and PF) have attempted to gain support through a centrist approach. Political centrism in Estonia involves the avoidance of political extremes and the accommodation of diverse social and political views from both ends of the political spectrum.146 From the perspective of the PF and the reformers of the ECP, the diversity of public opinion unleashed by glasnost presents a volatile situation where polarization poses dangers to the f u t u r e of the reform p r o c e s s . The PF have thus far successfully portrayed themselves as the golden mean between political poles of reaction and radicalism, represented by neo-Stalinist bureaucrats and Soviet Empire loyalists on the far left and radical Estonian nationalists on the far right. They have managed to forge a centrist position that commands the support of the majority of Estonians.147 146Rein Taagepera, "The Emergence of Baltic Centrism" from his address at the Baltic Conference at University of Maryland, 10 June 1988 and reprinted in Rahvarinde Teataja, No. 16, November 1988.. 127lbid. 165 By m e a n s of negotiation and compromise, the PF and reformers within the ECP have also attempted to allay the fears and insecurities of non-Estonians. All their lives, non-Estonians received the Soviet version of history and now suddenly local 'nationalists' threaten to upend and destroy their values, beliefs and loyalties. On the other end of the scale, the ECP-PF have had to positively address pent-up Estonian grievances and yet avoid an explosion of hostility; these grievances included the falsification of Baltic history, unchecked immigration, Russification of local culture, lack of e c o n o m i c c o n t r o l , and i n d u s t r i a l p o l l u t i o n . T h r o u g h f l e x i b i l i t y of v i e w p o i n t , s k i l l f u l m a n e u v e r , and the participation of leading Estonian artists, intellectuals, and technocrats, the progressive elements of the ECP and the PF, for the time being, control the levers of republican power. Whether a centrist approach toward reform in Estonia can c o n t i n u e in the same vein is u n c e r t a i n ; the e u p h o r i c atmosphere of 1988 has been replaced by a sense of political h a n g o v e r . S t e a d i l y rising p o l i t i c a l e x p e c t a t i o n s are p a r a l l e l e d by growing frustration over lack of concrete results (save for glasnost) and a sense of political stasis. The formidable power of Soviet defence industries and Moscow controlled all-Union concerns on Estonian territory remains a major obstacle to the decolonization and structural renovation of the Estonian economy. Moscow's uncertain reaction to Baltic initiatives signifies to Baits that Moscow is incapable 166 of i n d e p e n d e n t l y a i d i n g t h e B a l t i c in r e f o r m a n d decolonization. A growing mood in Estonia and the rest of the B a l t i c is that B a l t i c p o l i t i c a l rights are no l o n g e r negotiable; they must be fought for and taken if tangible results of are to realized from reform efforts. If rising l e v e l s of f r u s t r a t i o n c o m b i n e w i t h s t e a d i l y r i s i n g expectations to shift the consensus of public opinion and support toward unconditional independence, then centrism will once again be replaced by the polarization of the pre-Gorbachev era. In such a volatile atmosphere, anything is p o s s i b l e . Estonians, Latvians and L i t h u a n i a n s b e l i e v e strongly that the Soviet Union is not only in decline but in collapse. In the event that the Soviet system crumbles ahead of schedule, they hope that the Baltic will slip through the cracks unscathed. It is in this context that the Estonian PF is in the process of becoming radicali zed in the sense that their position is, out of a sense of frustration, drifting toward that of the restorationists. Their work, in cooperation with the PF movements of Latvia and Lithuania, in forming a 600 kilometer human chain of nearly 2,000,000 people across the Baltic to protest the fiftieth anniversary of the Molotov-R i b b e n t r o p Pact on August 2 5 , 1989 , c l e a r l y s h o w e d a willingness to extend the limits of what they will accept from 167 Moscow by way of political concessions.148 Their position in September, 1989 is that Estonia will remain a part of the Soviet Union only on condition that Estonian demands for complete control over its own affairs be granted by Moscow. The PF now advocate that unless Estonian grievances are rectified soon by meaningful reform, negotiation will be replaced by confrontation. The ECP, in turn, has now moved into the c e n t r i s t position occupied by the PF at the end of 1988. While overall respect for the ECP among the Estonian electorate remains low, the current ECP leadership has managed to achieve, through their defence of Estonian interests, a degree of legitimacy and p u b l i c s u p p o r t u n p a r a l l e l e d by p r e v i o u s c o m m u n i s t administrations. However, the ECP itself is fragmented into conservative, moderate, and progressive factions. Nominally, the Estonian polity is still governed by a one-party system. In September, 1988, before the new ECP platform came into effect, a power vacuum reigned within the party structure. Now a year later, clearly defined factions within the ECP are evident to the extent that a multiparty system is in the making within the constraints of the once formidable Estonian Communist Party. The conservative wing, who are mainly non-Estonian, are committed to the protection of one-party rule within an indivisible Soviet Union. Democratization, they 1 4 8Tarmu Tammerk, "Two Million Link Hands for Baltic Freedom," Homeland, August 30, 1989, p. 1. 168 feel, is an unnecessary intrusion into a traditional way of l i f e . The m o d e r a t e wing within the ECP are c e n t r i s t s c o m m i t t e d to e c o n o m i c d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n and i n c r e a s e d sovereignty for the republics through democratization of local communist party organizations. The progressive wing of the ECP is also centrist but with the added component of a strong nationalist perspective. Their orientation prescribes that meaningful political sovereignty for Estonia is possible only through the separation of the ECP from the CPSU, whereby the ECP is granted total independence. There is, as yet, no radical-restorationist wing within the ECP. However, all the elements are there for its emergence, if ethnic relations in Estonia deteriorate or if Estonian reform initiatives fall short of their goals because of opposition in Moscow. In the event that Estonian political conditions are not taken into account in Moscow, the formation of a radical wing within the ECP is probable. The rise of radicalism within the ECP would m e a n that the ECP Central Committee, which contains a considerable contingent of Russians, would then be forced to make a choice between conservative retrenchment or accession to the interests of Estonian nationalists. In present circumstances, whereby Russians comprise almost one half the total ECP membership, this choice cannot be made without a dismemberment of the ECP into polarized factions divided on ethnic lines and which could, in turn, precipitate the disintegration of current attempts to democratize. 169 The political situation within Estonia remains fluid, dynamic and changeable to the extreme. What this chapter has attempted to show is that, beneath the diversity of political views held by rival Estonian political groups, including the c u r r e n t l e a d e r s h i p of the E C P , t h e r e is a u n i f y i n g undercurrent of nationalist sentiment, almost shocking in its intensity, that determines what they think and how they will act. This is something difficult for outside observers to fully a p p r e c i a t e . In the West, we are conditioned and a c c u s t o m e d to view political allegiances as products of individual, rational choices. From the Baltic perspective, n a t i o n h o o d is a s u b c o n s c i o u s and p e r m a n e n t s t a t e of psychological and sociological existence that is manifest through a specific language and culture rather than by a conscious intellectual wish to participate in a contrived Soviet "Internationalism." 170 Chapter 3 THE VIEW FROM MOSCOW — THE LIMITS OF TOLERANCE M o s c o w ' s reaction to Baltic initiatives has been a c o n t r a d i c t o r y m i x t u r e of c o n d e m n a t i o n and i n c r e m e n t a l acceptance. For example, Estonia's Declaration of Sovereignty was declared politically unacceptable by the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet in November 1988; however, by the first session of the new Soviet Congress the term 'sovereignty' was part of the new political jargon surrounding the open debate over republican rights. Changes in Moscow's orientation toward the Baltic also became clearly evident in the wake of Moscow's decision to bring the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact out in the open. In addition, the new Soviet parliament approved, in principle, radical plans for Baltic economic autonomy, which, if successful, will reverse decades of centralized economic planning. These developments indicate that an evolutionary process of political dialogue and diplomacy between Moscow and the republics appears to be taking shape. However, ethnic unrest in the non-Russian republics threatens to dismember the Soviet system before meaningful reforms ca°n take effect. As national groups awaken politically and challenge Russian domination of politics and culture, Gorbachev's dilemma is to balance their demands against a potential Russian nationalist backlash and 171 against the interests of the powerful central ministries and state monopolies that still control the economy. In Soviet politics there is, of course, not only one Moscow but several competing forces within the center that Gorbachev must exert control over if he is to succeed. Gorbachev and the reform movement appear caught in a classic dilemma. While continued economic centralization will guarantee the retention of Party control over Soviet domestic affairs, it will also hasten the impending collapse of the Soviet economy- Decentralization, in contrast, will mean a diffusion of political power from the center to the periphery of the Soviet state. The fragmentation of centralized Soviet government into regionalized bases of power means that the ethnic component in Soviet domestic politics will now have to be taken more seriously int© account by Soviet policy makers. The purpose of this chapter Is to explore the limits of what Moscow is presently willing to accept in Estonia and the Baltic in terms of concessions in the areas of culture, economics and politics. What is or is not acceptable to Moscow, in terms of Estonian demands, is a difficult question to answer because of t h e f l u i d a n d c h a n g e a b l e n a t u r e of c u r r e n t S o v i e t d e v e l o p m e n t s - A t best we can examine specific p o l i c y 172 statements from Soviet officials and/or try and assess broad evolutionary trends within the Soviet reform process. If the contending forces at work within Soviet politics are taken into account, then the prospects for a clean and non-violent resolution to the Soviet nationalities dilemma are bleak. Gorbachev and the reform movement are caught in a web of bureaucratic and conservative 'gridlock', on the one hand, and torn asunder by the centrifugal forces of nationalism on the other. Soviet reformers must combat and balance three different but interrelated types of opposition that work in concert against the drive to change Soviet politics. The first is the blinkered perception of empire among Party bureaucrats, that places Moscow at the center of the world with inalienable rights to control and authority that will not e a s i l y be g i v e n up. The second force is the i n n a t e conservatism that pervades Soviet society from top to bottom and perpetuates itself through an elaborate system of rewards, punishments, and the teaching of psychological obedience. The third contending force is represented by the non-Russian Soviet nationalities whose goals and values stand outside the norms of Soviet political life. Their rejection of the central power of Moscow is characterized first and foremost by their intensity of nationalist feeling, an intensity that runs directly counter to the ideas of Soviet communism and against the power of empire. 173 Gorbachev appears to fully realize that the empire is decaying and rotting from within, and he has attempted to reverse the tide through a full-scale cultural change among S o v i e t c i t i z e n s . He is trying to abandon d e c a d e s and c e n t u r i e s of ingrained habits and, virtually overnight, r e p l a c e S o v i e t a u t h o r i t a r i a n i s m w i t h p a r l i a m e n t a r y negotiation, compromise and diplomacy. Gorbachev realizes also that democratization must include respect for ethnic interests. In the political ferment created by the attempt to d e c e n t r a l i z e the Soviet system, nationality issues have c l e a r l y emerged in the forefront. What the result of Gorbachev's great experiment will be is not yet clear. What is clear is that nationality issues are the foremost problem facing the Soviet leadership today and how they are resolved will shape and determine the Soviet future. I. TOWARD A NEW NATIONALITIES POLICY (A) Leninist Nationalities Policy The term "Leninist Nationalities Policy" has become a c a t c h - p h r a s e of Soviet political discourse that blends t r a d i t i o n a l r h e t o r i c w i t h a new p o l i t i c a l p u r p o s e . Originally, according to Marx, the bourgeois concepts of nation and nationalism will disappear once the proletarian becomes self-conscious of its own class identity as a slave to the monied interests and false consciousness of capitalist society. However, Marx believed also that nationalism would 174 not disappear overnight and could, in the interim, be utilized to promote the cause of the coming proletarian revolution. Thus, 'progressive' nationalist movements that hastened the destruction of existing centers of capitalist power (e.g., anti-British sentiment in India) should be supported while the •reactionary' nationalism of the bourgeoisie (e.g., in Britain and Germany) should be opposed.149 Lenin in turn adapted Marx's position to suit the political imperatives of the Russian revolution. After the collapse of Imperial Russia, Lenin immediately recognized the need to address the ethnic question in order to ensure the continued survival of the new revolutionary regime. The r e v o l u t i o n a r y g o v e r n m e n t had to s o m e h o w p o l i t i c a l l y accommodate nationalist fervor among the ethnic groups who w e r e f r e s h l y l i b e r a t e d f r o m t h e " p r i s o n - h o u s e of nationalities" and, at the same time, remain true to the legitimating tenets of Marxist theory. Citing Marx, Lenin held that the existence of nationalism was a temporary reality which would fade in importance once the nations of the world evolved into the historically superior stage of development exemplified by communism. In the meantime, nationalism must be permitted to flourish. Lenin felt that a display of p o l i t i c a l g o o d w i l l by the P a r t y t o w a r d n o n - R u s s i a n 1 4 9George Schopflin, "Gorbachev, Romania and Leninist N a t i o n a l i t i e s Policy", Radio Free Europe R e s e a r c h , RAD Background Report 96, 12 June, 1987, pp. 1-6. 175 nationalities would defuse the potential for inter-ethnic v i o l e n c e that otherwise could quickly dismember the new revolutionary state. Lenin hoped to score political points by garnering the support of the non-Russian nationalities that s u f f e r e d u n d e r C z a r i s t p o l i c i e s of c o l o n i a l i s m and Russification. For the non-Russians, Marxist revolution meant national emancipation and not class struggle.150 Due to R u s s i a n military weakness F i n l a n d , P o l a n d , Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were permitted to secede from the new revolutionary state. Those nationalities that Russian m i l i t a r y power was able to keep within the new Russian F e d e r a t i o n were encouraged to promote their r e s p e c t i v e cultures under the formula "national in form but socialist in content."151 Lenin's Utopian concept of the new revolutionary state was a union of sovereign (i.e., vested with independent p o l i t i c a l a u t h o r i t y within their territory) and equal socialist republics that over time, through e d u c a t i o n , equality of rights and mutual trust would evolve into a new political community unfettered by national divisions. We should note, however, that while Lenin was willing to accept a federation, he insisted that the Communist Party remain t i g h t l y c o n t r o l l e d from the center through d e m o c r a t i c centralism.152 150Ibid. See also Helene Carrere d'Encausse, Decline of an Empire, (New York: Harper Colophon, 1981), pp. 13-26. 151Schopflin, p. 2. 152Carrere d'Encausse, pp. 22-23. 176 Under Lenin's successors, the nationalities policy formula of "national in form but socialist in content" retained its validity for the Party due to its great political utility as an instrument of policy creation and control. The c o n t e n t s of Leninist nationalities policy were always uncertain and vague, and so its method of communication became contingent on the political needs of the moment. The ultimate meaning of Soviet nationalities policy was always defined by the Soviet leadership. Under the umbrella of Leninist N a t i o n a l i t y P o l i c y , Stalin e m b a r k e d on a p r o c e s s of homogenization of Soviet peoples, Khrushchev implemented and later r e v e r s e d a limited "cultural thaw" among Soviet cultures, and Brezhnev renewed Party efforts to eventually homogenize the Soviet nationalities into a "Soviet People."153 What successive Soviet leaders had in common was the fear of ethnic unrest as a danger to Soviet cohesion, and each attempted to eliminate national differences by their own methods: Lenin through internationalist education, Stalin through centralized political authority, Khrushchev by the "cultural merging of nations," and Brezhnev through the enforced expansion of Russian-language training. However, the architect of the nationality situation inherited by Gorbachev was Stalin. Stalin dispensed with, the sovereignty of Soviet republics and nationalities and cemented the ideological 127lbid. 177 hegemony of Great Russian chauvinism. In particular, Stalin rehabilitated the Czarist concept of Russia as the "Elder Brother" of other Soviet nations. Stalin declared that Russia was the leading Soviet nation and embarked on a program of Russification and national assimilation that over time became i n g r a i n e d in Soviet n a t i o n a l i t i e s policy and into the attitudes of the Party and the bureaucracy.154 The ideal of an indivisible and everlasting Great Russia still pervades the values and beliefs of a high number of officials that control all-Union Ministries and departments t o g e t h e r w i t h their subordinates and e m p l o y e e s in the republics. They represent a vast organization of corrupt patronage and privilege, and a system of feudal allegiances between central authorities and the provinces. Political movements in the Baltic, the Ukraine, Byelorussia, Georgia and Moldavia have met with stiff resistance from conservative and chauvinist groups who claim the direct support of all-Union agencies and departments and remain seemingly impervious to the f o r c e s of r e f o r m that t h r e a t e n their p o w e r s and privileges. (B) The Nationality Question Among the Party Leadership The seriousness of the Soviet nationalities problem was acknowledged by Gorbachev and other Politburo members in their election campaign speeches across the country in February and 154Ibid. , pp. 45-46. 178 M a r c h of 1989. Soviet o f f i c i a l s e m p h a s i z e d that the grievances of national groups must be resolved politically within the framework of Soviet reform. Attempts to resolve them outside of this framework, it was said, would only lead to the failure of reform and threaten catastrophe for the Soviet Union. Gorbachev stated in Kiev on February 23 that the S o v i e t l e a d e r s h i p had "clearly u n d e r e s t i m a t e d the a c u t e n e s s " of the accumulated problems in the area of nationality relations and the relationship of the republics to Moscow. Aleksandr Yakovlev in Tbilisi on February 27 listed some of the problems alluded to by Gorbachev; these include c o r r u p t i o n , s o c i a l i n e q u a l i t y , feudal local p o l i t i c a l structures, departmental 'diktat', ecological catastrophe, d i s r e g a r d for tradition, and insufficient a t t e n t i o n to national history, languages and culture.155 The problem now facing Gorbachev is how to redesign nationalities policy to fit new social and political conditions and yet remain true to the myths of Soviet Marxism-Leninism. Although "Leninist Nationality Policy" has been moderately successful in terms of providing an ideological shelter for the Party's nationalities concerns, major problems persist. Firstly, multiculturalism and multilingualism are expensive in practical terms. From Moscow's perspective separate cultural provisions for media, education and the 155Dawn Mann, "The Soviet Leadership Views: A Snapshot, Report on the USSR, Vol. 1, No. 12, 24 March, 1989, p. 5. 179 economy are a costly and inefficient duplication of services that waste scarce resources. Secondly, culture and politics are virtually impossible to separate. The demand for cultural rights invariably becomes politicized in an environment where the political prerogative to determine the nature of those rights is under the control of the C.P.S.U. A third problem is that "Leninist Nationality Policy" is a victim of the contradictions created by its own rhetoric. W h i l e c o n c e s s i o n s to nationalism can be justified and legitimized by the Party by reference to interpretations of Leninist theory, in practical terms the central power of Moscow is consistently undermined by cultural movements that steer the political loyalties of their members away from conscious allegiance to the Soviet state. In order to regain and secure their support, Soviet rulers must continually bargain with and accommodate these groups on a political level and, then, at the same time, officially deny that nationalism plays a political role within Soviet ethnic relations. The more that Moscow bargains, the less credibility is retained by a declared nationality policy that officially denies the e x i s t e n c e or n e c e s s i t y for such a p r o c e s s . L e n i n i s t Nationality Policy requires constant reinterpretation and upgrading of its image to fit the ever-shifting political agenda of Soviet nationality relations.156 156Schopflin, p. 6. 180 A l t h o u g h M o s c o w would c l e a r l y p r e f e r to k e e p the nationalities issue at a low profile, violence and chaos in Armenia, Georgia and Uzbekistan, and unrest in the Baltic, have forced nationality concerns into the open. By the time of the 19th Conference of the CPSU at the end of June, 1988 nationalities issues already regularly occupied Soviet and international newspaper headlines. At the CPSU Conference, the nationalities issue was deemed by the Soviet leadership as too explosive to ignore but too politically hot to draw d e f i n i t i v e and specific conclusions. Gorbachev himself introduced the nationality question in his opening address to the Conference when he reasserted that Leninist nationalities policy is to be the foundation for future development. As in several previous statements on nationality issues since 1986, Gorbachev's main focus was on the economic aspects of ethnic affairs. He suggested that the rights of the Union republics should be reinterpreted and realigned with the economic d e c e n t r a l i z a t i o n program of perestroika. Language and cultural issues, however, remained in the background behind Gorbachev's warnings against "national exclusivity" among Soviet peoples. In particular, Gorbachev appealed for the resolution of the nationalities issue through legal and constitutional norms.157 1 5 7"Nationality Issues at the 19th Party Conference," Soviet Nationality Survey, Vol. V, No. 2, July 28, 1988, p.'2 181 The final resolution adopted by the Conference reaffirmed the Party's commitment toward economic decentralization, the "unity" of Soviet peoples, and the correctness of the "Leninist Course". Problems in the area of interethnic relations that accumulated over the years were a result of a "departure from the Leninist principle of nationalities policy, violations of legality in the period of the cult of p e r s o n a l i t y , and the i d e o l o g y and p s y c h o l o g y of stagnation."168 The resolution recommended that amendments be adopted to the ail-Union and republican constitutions "to reflect more fully the rights and obligations" of the republic and autonomous territories, "the principles of self-management, and the representation of all nationalities in the organs of power at the center and locally." Estonia's proposals for regional cost-accounting and republican economic self-management received honorable mention as being "worthy of future discussion."159 Although not directly apparent at the time, the 19th Party Conference resolutions were the surface elements of an ongoing, hidden struggle at the top levels of Soviet Party and government over the future of nationality policy, and relations between Moscow and the republics. 1 5 8Ann Sheehy, "Party Conference Resolutions on Interethnic Relations," Radio Liberty Research, July 7, 1988, p. 2. 159Ibid., p. 4. 182 Signs of the debate over the nationalities question were in evidence in scholarly periodicals and Soviet television throughout 1988, but Gorbachev did not reveal his own position until January 1989. In a candid speech to the Soviet cultural and scientific elite on January 6, Gorbachev came out in opposition to the idea of the "merging of nations" promoted by Khrushchev and revealed that the debate apparent in the Soviet media did, in fact, reflect deep divisions within the Party over the future of nationality relations. In addition, Gorbachev acknowledged that the Party recognizes that "the success of restructuring will depend to a decisive extent on how the problems that have accumulated in the sphere of nationality relations are handled and solved."160 Gorbachev explained that until now, the Party has not faced up to its responsibilities and has claimed instead, that the nationality problem has been solved.161 The Party's new course, according to Gorbachev, has helped to reveal "the real picture". In reference to the initiation of the new Party Program in 1985 Gorbachev stated: There was even a proposal to embark on the practical merging of nations. At the time, I managed with great difficulty to oppose the pressure of certain learned gentlemen who were seeking to thrust this 1 6 0Bohdan Nahaylo, "Gorbachev Disavows Merging of Nations," Report on the USSR, 23 February, 1989, p. 23. 127lbid. 183 dangerous formulation into the current Party Program.162 Gorbachev's positive alternative was a "flourishing", not merging of nations. We cannot permit even the smallest people to disappear, the language of even the smallest people to be lost; we cannot permit nihilism with regard to culture, traditions, and the history of people, be they big or small.163 In summation, what emerged from Gorbachev's speech was verification that a fundamental shift in Soviet nationalities policy was in progress. In an appeal to "the Party and the Soviet People" from the CPSU Central Committee at its plenum on January 10, 1989, the Party leadership pledged "to harness principles of Leninist nationalities policy" and support the unique qualities and interests of each Soviet people. In addition, the Party leadership promised to continue the course adopted at the 19th Party Conference in June 1988 in relation to nationality issues and develop a comprehensive program to expand the rights of the republics. 162Ibid., p. 24. See also, Pravda, January 8, 1989. 163lbid. 184 II. THE CPSD CC PLATFORM i OR THE 1989 NATIONALITIES CONFERENCE The new program promised in the January, 1989 Party declaration was unveiled in August and set the agenda for the long-awaited Nationalities Conference in September,164 Summarized in brief, the new platform stated that present problems have their roots in past deformations of Leninist principles and require radical solutions. Bureaucratic centralization took hold of the economy, culture, language policy, and education under Stalin, who emptied Leninist federalism of meaning. The consequences of over-centralization were arbitrary industrial expansion, pollution, the command economy and large-scale demographic changes, all of which contributed to the rise of national tensions. A major mistake was the forced integration of cultures when instead the uniqueness of each culture should have been considered. Mass repression, deportation, and purges of local Party cadres, falsely accused of nationalism, contributed to ethnic unrest for which the whole of the Soviet Union was made to suffer. The Party platform stated that in order to rectify the explosive nationalities situation, a radical renewal of Soviet federalism is imperative.165 Under -the new federal formula a 164Rahva Ha"al, 17 August 1989, pp. 1-2. 165Ibid. 185 strong Union is a strong center with strong republics and built on the principle of voluntary association. However, the respective responsibilities of the all-Union and the republics must be clearly defined. Under all-union jurisdiction will fall responsibility for the maintenance of the armed forces, the KGB, and foreign policy. The responsibility of the republics will include all powers to run their internal affairs excepting those that they voluntarily designate to the Union. If all-Union laws violate those of a republic's Constitution, then the republic is empowered to contest this in an all-Union court of Constitutional law. With respect to the economy, the new platform outlined a plan of economic sovereignty for the republics based on local self-management and self-financing. The republics will have the right to control all natural and economic resources within their territories except those resources determined by the Union as vital to national defense, the good of the Union, and the benefit of the other republics. The remainder of the platform outlined the internal rights of the republics. The sovereignty of each republic will be guaranteed and defined by its laws of citizenship. While each republic will have legal provisions for its own citizenship, all republican citizens will also be citizens of the Union and serve in its armed forces. As sovereign entities, the republics will have the right to maintain relations with foreign states and join international 186 organizations. These rights must be clearly defined in the Constitution. In addition, Union and republican Communist Parties and social organizations must have greater power to run their own affairs. However, there must be no fragmentation of the Party into competing national groups. The rights of national groups must be guaranteed under the Constitution and all Soviet citizens must be able to use the language of their choice and live among the culture of their choice without fear of discrimination. There must be no extremes of either nationalism or chauvinism. The political, economic and cultural rights of the republics and their citizens must be guaranteed by a new Treaty of Union that will replace the Treaty of 1922. III. PROSPECTS FOR SUCCESS By past Soviet standards, the new nationalities policy proposals were clearly progressive. However, under present conditions, the platform is unlikely to satisfy either Baltic nationalists or Soviet conservatives. For nationalists the platform's substance is too vague and general and does little to address their grievances. Soviet national groups know that while they can voluntarily remain within the Soviet Union, they cannot voluntarily leave it. While few doubts now exist that Soviet reformers are serious about economic, political and cultural decentralization, the reaction from Soviet 187 nationalists with newly raised expectations is that the reforms are too little and too late to avoid confrontation. (A) Political Sovereignty The Baits want full control of their internal affairs. In the view of the Popular Front movements of Estonia, Latvia, •and Lithuania, democratic control of a republic's internal affairs is impossible without multiparty parliamentary democracy. Moscow is clearly not yet ready to remove the Party from its "leading role" in Soviet political affairs nor will Moscow tolerate the fragmentation of the CPSU into competing national-territorial bodies. The fragmentation of the CPSU, however, is a process which Moscow appears to be incapable of stopping. In the upcoming local elections slated for the fall of 1989, local party organizations are facing the embarrassment of defeat at the hands of alternative candidates. The Baltic Communists now say that the only way to save themselves politically is to join the nationalists even at the risk of alienating Moscow. Otherwise, they will be excluded for the first time ever from the Supreme Soviets of the Republics by nationalists and democrats who may then attempt to legislate the influence of the Party further into obscurity. (B) Economic Independence The Party's new slogan "strong center and strong republics" symbolizes in part the revival of the concept of Soviet economic regionalism last attempted by Khrushchev in 188 the early sixties. Unlike Khrushchev, however, Gorbachev's version of regionalism embraces much more than economic decentralization and the reduction of vertical administrative relations between Moscow and the republics. Gorbachev's republic-based economic regionalism is a sort of panacea for his developing nationalities policy. The development of republican autonomy is a product of intense pressures on the center of empire to vent problems in the Soviet borderlands which, if left untended, will explode into further violence and chaos. However, the policy of regionalism and republican autonomy is also a double-edged sword. Promises are being made by Moscow in response to republican and nationalist pressures, and expectations are being raised. The Party's new slogan is thus inherently contradictory because strong Soviet republics will inevitably challenge Moscow in unexpected ways. The arrival of Estonian republican economic autonomy is a case in point.. On July 29, 1989 the Soviet legislature approved in principle plans for Estonia and Lithuania to develop market-oriented economies independent of the central planning that rules over most of Soviet economic life. The resolutions gave general approval to laws already passed by the parliaments of Lithuania and Estonia which call for the republics to be given control over their budgets, tax policies, prices, currency, banking, financial markets, and foreign trade. The most important provision of the resolution declares that the Baltic 189 republics will be exempt from any federal economic laws that i n t e r f e r e w i t h t h e i r p r o g r e s s t o w a r d e c o n o m i c independence.166 The plan was not immediately made into law, however, in the face of stiff opposition from central planners, who complained that it would complicate their work, and would be discriminatory against other regions of the country where preferential treatment of the Baltic may arouse resentment. Yuri Maslyukov, the chairman of the State Planning Commission, said a separate law for the Baltic republics would divide the country and "trample on the rights" of other republics.167 Maslyukov's statements carried considerable weight in the debate over economic decentralization. As chairman of the State Planning Commission, Maslyukov represented the full weight of all-Union industry and the economic bureaucracy. He is also a Politburo member. Maslyukov is intimately knowledgeable of Baltic initiatives for increased republican autonomy from his chairmanship of the Commission created by the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet in the wake of the Constitutional crisis over the Estonian Declaration of Sovereignty in November 1988. The function of the Maslyukov Commission was to develop guidelines and principles for the 166Bill Keller, "Baltic Plans for economic reform with support of Soviet parliament," Globe and Mail, 28 July, 1989, pp. 1-2. 167Ibid., p. 2. 190 implementation of increased republican independence through constitutional reform. The product of the Commission was a complex document entitled the "USSR Draft Program on Republican Economic Self-Management," which became known as the Maslyukov Plan.168 The substance of the Maslyukov plan, although radical by Soviet standards, did not meet Estonian expectations. Key differences involved currency, industrial planning, budgeting and forms of property ownership. Estonia released its own final version of economic self-management on April 5 and passed it into republican law on May 18. The Estonian project gave the republic its own convertible currency and banking system, permitted all types of private property ownership, and guaranteed virtually complete control over all of its economy excepting defense installations. While the Maslyukov program did propose steps that would improve republican powers, under it the central levers of economic authority would still remain in Moscow. The Estonian plan, in the making since September 1987, in effect, bypasses Moscow completely save for certain aspects of defense and tax payments from Estonia to Moscow. The political process by which Estonian plans for economic independence passed from republican and all-Union government condemnation to all-Union legislative support was a 168For a good overview of the Maslyukov program see John Tedstrom, "USSR Draft Program on Republican Economic Self-management: an Analysis," Report on the USSR, Vol. 1, No. 16 April 21, 1989, p. 1-8. 191 major shift in Soviet political style, from a command structure to mutual consultation, parliamentary lobbying and inter-republican diplomacy. While this shift in political behaviour is in part a function of Gorbachev's new governing style, new political realities play no small part in the new pattern. In order to get their program accepted in Moscow, the Estonian delegation made it clear that the rejection of the plan would mean the end of non-violent opposition in Estonia, something Moscow can ill afford in the midst of the increasing and protracted crises throughout the other non-Russian republics.169 Nonetheless, how the plan will proceed after the nationalities conference is far from clear because conservative opposition is intense. (C) Cultural Autonomy and Citizenship One of the most persistent grievances of Baits is the threat of cultural extinction. While the new CPSU Party platform promises to guard the cultural rights of Soviet nationalists through Constitutional means, there are no specific aspects of the program which will reassure Baltic nationalists that their fears of being overrun by immigrants are no longer valid. Constitutional provisions, they feel, are useless if they do not permit Baits to establish some type of administrative mechanism by which to restrict immigration, 169Kaupo Pollisinski, "Tommatakse Veelahet", Rahva Ha"al, 27 July 1989, p. 1. 192 control their economy and political affairs and prevent the Russification of their culture; there can be no cultural autonomy without political and economic independence. What purpose, they ask, is served by language legislation which guarantees Baits the right to use their own languages as official state languages if immigrants are not required to do so because they can get by with Russian. What especially worries the Baits is the provision in the Party platform that states that all Soviet citizens should feel at home wherever they are within the Soviet state. The idea of the Soviet Union as "our common home" is unacceptable to Baits but forms the basis of the ideal Soviet state for Moscow. Moscow's concept of the ideal Soviet future is no longer the demographic melting pot represented by the United States; it is instead the European Economic Community with its disappearing borders and unifying political direction. To the Baits this is anathema. They reject membership in a Soviet version of the EEC for the same reasons the EEC refuses membership to countries like Turkey and Albania. The cultural and economic differences are too great and the benefits too few. IV. THE LIMITS OF TOLERANCE On August 23, 1989 the largest political demonstration in Soviet Baltic history took place when two million Baits joined hands in a 600 kilometer human chain to protest the 1939 193 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and the fifty years of Soviet rule that have followed.170 On the same day, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact investigative commission of the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet announced that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was an illegal act and an international crime. Therefore, stated the commission, the incorporation of the Baltic into the Soviet Union was also illegal and should be completely reassessed. The reaction from Moscow came in the form of a public appeal for order from the CPSU central committee which stated that nationalist extremism in the Baltic has put the future of reform at stake. Particularly ominous to the Baits was the Central Committee warning that the consequence of continued nationalist extremism would be "that the future viability of the Baltic peoples as cultural and political entities could be at stake."171 These statements intensely angered the Baits who have claimed all along that their continued existence as nationalities are in danger of annihilation from Soviet rule, not from nationalism. The problem for Moscow today is that Baltic events have highlighted the fact that the limits of Moscow's tolerance are increasingly ignored throughout the Soviet rimlands. The Baltic republics are in the midst of a full-scale popular uprising and political revolution that has permeated their 170Kodumaa (English Supplement), August 30, 1989, p. 1. 171Kodumaa (English Supplement), September 6, 1989, p. 1. 194 societies from top to bottom. Even local Communist Parties now contend that the Baltic states were forcibly and illegally annexed by the Soviet Union. Their current position is that if Moscow wants the Baltic to remain within the Soviet Union, then the proper conditions must be created to induce them not to secede. Virtually overnight, the big question in Soviet politics has shifted, from ascertaining the limits of Moscow's tolerance toward nationalism, to determining what limits is Moscow any longer capable of imposing on rebellious republics. The limits of non-Russian nationalist activity that Moscow is willing to tolerate is very difficult to assess, except in the most general terms. The limits of tolerance keep shifting monthly and weekly as new situations arise to challenge Moscow's authority. It appears, at present, that Moscow will tolerate almost anything (short of secession) that is brought about by measured, orderly change and constitutional amendment, and which does not directly attack the myths and symbols of Soviet Marxism-Leninism or the unity of the empire. The problem is that Moscow is not yet psychologically prepared for the separation of 'church' and 'state1 through the elimination of the CPSU from its 'leading role' in Soviet politics, as enshrined under Article 6 of the Soviet Constitution. Neither is Moscow psychologically ready to rewrite history and acknowledge the forcible annexation of the Baltic States against their will in 1940. Contrary to Baltic 195 expectations, Soviet authorities failed to denounce and condemn the substance of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact during its 50th anniversary on August 23, 1989. The report of the Soviet parliamentary commission on the pact was published on August 22, 1989, in the Estonian media, but did not appear in the Central media to high-level intervention by Party officials.172 According to Estonian Popular Front leader and vice-chairman of the Soviet parliamentary commission on the pact, Edgar Savisaar, the suppression of the report by the Kremlin demonstrates that Baltic reforms are approaching the limits of what can be achieved in the near term for two fundamental reasons: 1) for Moscow to acknowledge the actual nature of the pact would mean that the previously inviolable borders of the empire would then become subject to change; 2) an honest assessment of the pact by Moscow would be an admission that the Soviet Union and fascist Germany were allies, and divided the spoils of war between them. For Soviets, Russians in particular, who have been brought up in the spirit that fascism is the worst of crimes, such an admission by Moscow could create a cultural and social shock of 172Joel Aav, "Kremlin fails courage test on pact, not ready for truth," Kodumaa (English supplement), August 30, 1989, p. 1. 196 unpredictable consequences.173 These consequences include not only a loss of face by the CPSU, but interethnic violence between groups who feel aggrieved by the pact and Russians who feel insulted by those who would call into question the benefits of Soviet rule. 127lbid. 197 V. CONCLUSIONS THE SOVIET FUTURE AND THE BALTIC The foremost dilemma facing the Soviet leadership today is how to deal with the centrifugal forces of nationalism released by glasnost and perestroika, which threaten the future viability of the Soviet state. In light of the systemic crises that now grip the Soviet Union, the eventual dissolution of the Soviet empire appears to be inevitable, regardless of attempts to preserve it. The only realistic questions are: will the disintegration of the Soviet Union be peaceful and orderly, or will its breakup be violent and haphazard?; can Soviet reform be achieved through constitutional means, or are the internal contradictions of too great to avoid catastrophe? Valid arguments are possible for either case. For the foreseeable future, it appears that Moscow fully intends to try and keep the empire intact. Moscow's available options, however, are limited to a choice between two methods: either a return to iron-fisted repression, or decentralization of power to the point where Soviet ethnic groups and the republics would have no cause to complain. Attempted solutions that fall between these poles would be dangerous and destabilizing, since the causes of ethnic dissatisfaction would continue, as would opportunities to express discontent. This appears to be the situation at present; the old rules of political control are crumbling, but the underlying problems in nationality relations remain unsolved. Partial reform will bring increased violence and 198 only postpone political disaster until a later date. Moscow's best options for keeping the empire intact remain either the iron fist or radical decentralization, each of which have their drawbacks.174 The limitations of a return to the repression of the pre-Gorbachev era are that the implementation of such a policy would not resolve the crisis in the economy, nor would Soviet nationality problems disappear. Ethnic problems would merely retreat underground from where they came, and re-emerge later in more pronounced form. The fundamental defect of a return to repression is that a rigidly controlled and centralized economic and social system will, in the short term, promote political stability, but cannot make the leap from a labour intensive society to high technology rapidly enough to prevent a systemic collapse. Foreign credits may dry up, and a renewed cycle of international tension would drain the economy of scarce resources for defence.175 A re-implementation of strict political controls would prove suicidal to the empire and bring certain collapse as economic productivity declines, resources are exhausted, and the population becomes increasingly demoralized. With glasnost, the genie is out of the bottle. Citizens expectations have been raised beyond 174Rein Taagepra, "Kuidas Imperiumid Loppevad. Kas N. Lut on Teel 'Commonwealth' * i' Poole?, Looming, 3 March 1989, pp. 395-398. 127lbid. 199 that which a return to political repression is capable of reversing. In the unlikely event that a reincarnation of Stal in does emerge, a new round of democratization is certain to follow in time. With respect to nationality relations, current sociological and demographic trends in the Soviet Union work against the maintenance of strict political controls with any degree of effectiveness.176 The linguistic assimilation of non-Russians has been only partially successful. Assimilation has not taken place rapidly enough to have a permanent impact. Linguistic diversity and multi-ethnicity have actually increased over the last decades because of low Russian birth rates. While the iron fist has been indispensable for keeping the empire intact, at the same time it has promoted disloyalty and hatred among Soviet nationalities. A policy of governmental repression may postpone inevitable political changes for the short-term but, like the partial reform approach, the institution of new controls will mean that Soviet problems will again be stored on a shelf only to reveal themselves in more aggravated form later. Radical decentralization is the only option that makes rational sense, if chaos is to be avoided. The potential benefits of decentralization are increased regional productivity, relief from ethnic conflict, the infusion of 127lbid. 200 Weste aid and trade, and the reduction of international political tension. In addition, decentralization could develop into a face-saving mechanism for the empire. In the event that the republics are granted greater independence, the empire can still remain intact in symbolic form as a Confederation or a Commonwealth. The main risk for Moscow is that the renunciation of control over the republics, once undertaken, will be difficult, if not impossible to reverse. Gorbachev graphically expressed his concern over this problem in his address at the long-awaited Nationalities Conference in September, 1989. Gorbachev's 'three pillars' of nationality policy were "Soviet federalism, party unity, and equal treatment of all nationalities."177 Gorbachev's nationalities platform was an attempt to find a middle ground between conservatives and nationalists. However, in the context of the current Soviet nationalities' situation, the substance of Gorbachev's three principles will likely satisfy no one. Gorbachev's present view of Soviet federalism means that secession by any of the republics is out of the question as far as Moscow is concerned. Yet, secession is exactly what several republics are beginning to openly demand, if a better deal cannot be extracted from Moscow. The second principle, Party unity,.means that independent, regional Communist Parties divided along ethnic and/or 177New York Times, 15 September, 1989, p. 1. 201 territorial lines will not be welcome or tolerated. The problem with Party unity is that the existence of separate communist parties is already a fait accompli in the Baltic (ie., at least, de facto if not yet de jure). The idea also threatens to take root in other republics in anticipation of upcoming local elections. The last principle, equal treatment of all nationalities, is perhaps the most ambiguous of Gorbachev's three pillars, because it is understood very differently by Russians and non-Russians respectively. Many (but by no means all) Russians feel that, since Russian is the lingua franca of the Soviet Union, its usage throughout the Soviet Union puts all Soviet nationalities on an equal footing. Non-Russians, in turn, feel that Russians have always been more equal than other ethnic groups due to their relative size and their hold on important political posts. Gorbachev's plea for interethnic tolerance and respect is unlikely to find acceptance among non-Russians, many of whom refuse to learn Russian, or, native Russians, who feel discriminated against if not addressed in their own language. The prospect of significant decentralization is also a dilemma from the perspective of the Baits. While they have little desire to race ahead with reforms and invite a backlash from Moscow, to be forced to accept a form of 'de facto' home rule in exchange for a negotiated 'de jure' recognition of the empire is something difficult for the Baits to digest. They 202 wonder if such an agreement can be trustworthy, or will it be a legalized giveaway of their political future? Or worse yet, would a new Treaty of the Union invite demographic catastrophe for the Baltic, if immigration cannot be stopped? The Baits perceive their situation on two separate levels: the rational and the emotional (ie., psychological). On a rational level, Baltic aspirations toward independence are predicated on the hope that Moscow's domestic political calculations will be realistic, objective and logical. Moscow is clearly upset over its current place in the world. Their most important social and economic indicators show that the Soviet Union is now on par with many developing countries, and is even in danger of being bypassed by some in terms of technological capability. Yet, the prerequisites of development into a greater power are all present: a large territory, an educated population, industrialization, and abundant natural resources. The economy, however, is a failure and the Soviet Union cannot maintain its status as a world power for much longer, let alone catch up to the United States, the European Community and Japan. The Baits ask: is it possible, in the context of Moscow's economic crisis, that the Baltic could be more useful to Moscow as an independent region (eg., in the postwar role played by Finland) than as a Soviet dependency? The Baits reason that not only would this be possible, but also highly desirable for all concerned. Because of the diverse nature of the Soviet Union, perestroika 203 cannot be implemented in the same way or at the same speed in all regions. The Baits view themselves as the Soviet Nationlities best prepared to embrace perestroika immediately. In exchange for independence, the Baits propose to become a springboard for the development of the Soviet Union into a high technology society, and an example for the rest of the Soviet Union to follow in its attempt to integrate into the world economy. The Baits calculate that the strategic and economic risks for Moscow are low, and that the granting of Baltic independence could also conceivably contribute to Moscow's foreign policy goal of dismantling NATO. The down side of the Baltic equation is the question of whether Moscow is capable of realism, objectivity and logic in its decision-making. What may, to us in the West, be a logical, rational choice of alternatives may not be possible in a Soviet Union ruled by emotion and the inertia of empire. The ethnic components of the empire, some of which have been under Russian domination for centuries, are contiguous to the Russian Federation and will not easily be released by rulers whose emotional makeup is not yet prepared for this. Another problem is that the forces of Russian tradition run directly counter to the idea of decentralization, and seek to unify Soviet reforms into a grand scheme, that will embrace everyone in equal fashion. The Baits, however, see themselves very differently. While they have a high respect for Russian culture, they also feel that the broad mass of Russians 204 outside of the citadels of culture in Leningrad and Moscow are not yet capable of embracing Western-style concepts of human rights and multiparty democracy. They may or may not be correct. Perhaps in this respect, the Baits are making the same mistake as we often do in the West, in assuming that unless Soviet reformers introduce a west european-style parliamentary system of democracy, they cannot be called civilized (ie., they're not like us). The recent political experience of many non-Western societies, during their transition into the 20th Century, has been one of selective choice in their adoption of west european political values and institutions. They will not willingly accept those aspects of Western culture that compromise or negate their own traditional values. The future of Soviet Russia must be assessed in a similar light. In conclusion, the current situation in the Soviet Baltic illustrates the complex, contending forces at work in Soviet politics at the close of the 1980' s. On a rational and logical level of analysis, the republics on the Soviet periphery have entered into a process of diplomatic bargaining, negotiation, and compromise with the centre in Moscow. On a deeper, emotional level, the centrifugal forces of non-Russian nationalism are at war against the will to empire. The process of Soviet political change is presently very fluid and changeable, and very unpredictable in terms of whether rational diplomacy or nationalist emotion will prevail 205 on the Soviet Union's accelerating path to reform. A clue, as to which direction Soviet politics in the Baltic is headed, is contained in the new law on public referendums drafted by the Popular Fronts of each Baltic republic. If instituted, the new system of public plebiscite may soon be used by native Baits to express in direct fashion that which, until recently, has been unthinkable for 50 years: unconditional independence. What Moscow's reaction will be is difficult to predict. The West is of course hopeful that Gorbachev shall succeed with his reforms. The paradox of the Soviet situation is that Gorbachev cannot succeed without dismantling the empire. We can only hope that the words of Andrei Sakharov, spoken in London in the summer of 1989, do not become prophetic: The Soviet Union is the world's last great colonial empire. At its roots lie deep national and ethnic contradictions that threaten to violently dismember the Soviet state. Instead of the equality of peoples, the Soviet system has succeeded in creating the enmity of peoples by the oppression of the republics by the Soviet Union as a whole and the suppression of minorities within the republics. Unless nationality issues are resolved soon by constitutional means, then the breakup of the empire is inevitable and its fall will be incredibly tragic and violent.178 178Andrei Sakharov, "The Real Russia," Observer, 25 June 1989, p. 15. 206 BIBLIOGRAPHY Books Alexeyeva, Ludmilla. Soviet Dissent. Middletown, Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 1985. Carrere d'Encausse, Helene. Decline of an Empire. New York: Harper and Row, 1981. Cohen, Stephen. Rethinking the Soviet Experience. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. Colton, Timothy J. The Dilemma of Reform in the Soviet Union. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1986. Ethnic Russia in the USSR: The Dilemma of Dominance. Ed. Edward Allworth. New York: Pergamon, 1980. Goldman, Marshall I. Gorbachev's Challenge. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1987. Karklins, Rasma. Ethnic Relations in the USSR. London: Allen and Unwin, 1986. The Last Empire - Nationality and the Soviet Future. Ed. Robert Conquest. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press, 1986. Made, Tiit. Eesti Arkab ja Voitleb (Estonia Awakens and Fights). Stockholm: Kirjastus Valis-Eesti and EMP, 1988. Misiunas, Romuald J. and Rein Taagepera. The Baltic States: Years of Dependence 1940-1980. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983. Motyl, Alexander. Will the Non-Russians Rebel? State, Ethnicity and Stability in the USSR. Cornell University Press, 1987. Political Culture and Communist Studies. Ed. Archie Brown. London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1984. Political Culture and Political Change in Communist States. Ed. Archie Brown and Jack Gray. 2nd ed. New York: Holmes and Meier, 1979. Raun, Toivo. Estonia and the Estonians. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1987. 207 The Soviet Union Today. Ed. James Cracraft. Chicago: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 1983. Tucker, Robert C. Political Culture and Leadership in the Soviet Russia From Lenin to Gorbachev. New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1987. White, Stephen. Political Culture and Soviet Politics. London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1979. Estonian Journals and Newspapers Edasi Horisont Kultuur ja Elu Kodumaa Looming Maaleht Muinsuskaitse Sonumid Noorte Haal Ohtuleht Rahva Haal Sirp ja Vasar Vikerkaar City of Tartu (daily) newspaper scientific and cultural monthly political and cultural monthly weekly newspaper Estonian Writers1 Union monthly weekly newspaper of ECP Central Committee monthly of the Estonian Heritage Society daily newspaper of Estonian Komsomol City of Tallinn daily newspaper daily newspaper of the Estonian Communist Party cultural weekly of Estonian Ministry of Culture cultural monthly of Estonian Writers' Union Also very useful were Report on the USSR from Radio Liberty, the Radio Free Europe Research Bulletin, and the Journal of Baltic Studies (JBS). APPENDIX APRIL 20, 19M HOMELAND WE, THE PARTICIPANTS rr, the joint P * w y meeting of the board rn.mb.ri of the umom of the Estonian SSR cultural work e n , address f h . All-Union Party Conferece to as to express our ett>tuda to u v i r i l topic* ! problems b y society, the d i s u n i o n of which at the Conference we regard as vilal for achieving the major objectives of perestroika (restructuring). TKa current rise in the social and political activity of the Soviet Estonian cultural community and I ha who la nation represents * »h»rp contrast to the atmos-phere of political alienation cynicism and hopelessness that seemed unsurpassable Just three years ago. This shift in the public mood and attitude, brought about by the course set by the April 1*85 Plenary Meeting of the CPSU Central Committee and the 27th Congress of the CPSU, is the first palpable victory scored by perestroika in Estonia, even though glesnort (openness) Has revealed many a problem yet to b e resolved. On the fece of H, the greatest concern among these is caused by the aggravation of national relations in the Union republics. W e consider H our duty to call on the CPSU CC end the Perty Conference to make a d e e p analysis of the object ive economic end political discrepancies in the development of our multi-net ion a I country that underlie those negative tendencies . Whet we refer to ere the relations be tween the central, all-Union bodies and agencies , and the republics, who Nave jo ined the Soviet Union of their own free will. The point at issue is the restoration o f the Leninist principles o f . the sove-reignity end equality of the Union repub-lics. STAOMAMT O n e of the key issues on which depends the fate of perestroika is the dismantling of the stagnant bureaucratic machinery, which brought our society to the brink of en economic and political crisis. In the national republics the omnipotence of the bureaucracy first and foremost linds expression in the legalized arbitrariness exerc ised by ell-Union ministries and departments, institutions which ignore local economic , eco logica l as well as soeio-cultural needs and interests. This results In loss-making economies, uncontrollable migration end an increased likelihood of ecological catasfrophies, as well as the non-satisfaction of the popu-lation's socio-cultural needs. In the conditions of a muHi-naHonal siate this may load to an aggravation of national relations and growing discontent among the local population with the central authorities. The loca! bureaucracy are in the habil of concealing and hushing up these problems; having no desire to change the situation, •hey instead e n g a g e in seemingly ective "educat ion" work and a figM against the so-cal led "nationalism". In the present stage of perestroika the bureaucracy are in fact trying to profit from such «.situation by speculating on the danger of "separt f ism". Disinforming the Soviet general public and generating discontent with the central authorities they hope their actions will cause disappointment in the reform policies. Estonia is no exception in this sense. Decades of extensive economic develop-ment, including the unrestrained expansion of the industries subjected to the authority of elMJnion ministries, have had a negative effect on the demographic, ecological and, lately, also the economic situation in our republic. ^ OPPRESSION As compared to 1945, the share of indigenous people in the population has decl ined by one-third and is ebout to fall be low sixty per cent, which has engendered social depression among the people . It may b e said that the current use of the oil-shale mined on our territory means no-thing but « senseless waste of this potential raw material for the chemical industry #hat will b e c o m e ever more valuable as time g o e s by. The planned expansion of thermal power stations and increase in the mining of oil-shale provide « graphic example of how only short-term interests ere being kept in mind in production. The unnecessary and economically unjustified expansion of phosphorite mining proposed by the USSR Ministry for Mineral Fertilizers, threatens to push the pollution Imperative : Radical changes W I S C O M I N G June the CPSU w i l ! h o l d H . 1 9 * C o n f e r e n c e in M o s c o w . i " * P J n f > e i ° , n t h e C ? n f e r < m c « Sov ie t p e o p l e , w h o expec t it t o launch rad.ca l r e n e w a l , i n the S o v i e t po l i t i ca l system. Pre-p a r i n g fo r the C o n f e r e n c e p e o p l e across t h e Sov ie t U n i o n are m a k i n g sugges t ion* f o r i t t o cons ide r . F rom A p r i l 1-2 Tal l inn h o s t e d a p l ena ry m e e t i n g o f the b o a r d m e m b e r s of m e Estonian pro fess iona l u m o n j o f w o r k e r s in t h e arts as w e l l as j o u m a -A f t e r h ^ o days o f u n p r e c e d e n t e d ! / c a n d i d d iscuss ions o f acute p r o b -lems m the Estonian e c o n o m y , e n v i r o n m e n t a l p r o t e c t i o n , na t iona l cu l tu re a n d d e m o g r a p h i c s i tuahon, as w e l l as the p r o g r e s s a n d fa te o f the o n g o -ing r e f o r m e f fo r t in the Sov ie t U n i o n at l a rge , t h e m e e t i n g a d o p t e d th ree o p e n let ters one o f t hem a d d r e s s e d t o t h e 19th Party C o n f e r e n c e , w h i c h y o u f i nd b e l o w . ' of our r e p i i l i c , as well es frat of other stales lying on the BeHic Sea, beyond a critical point. Further attempts to expend industrial pro-duction in Estonia will, considering the pre-sent shortage of local leboor, generate growing discontent among the population. It has to b e acknowledged thai Estonian authorities have displayed conformist attitudes, failing to make sufficient use of the power vested in them in order to slow down negative tendencies and curb departmental ambitions. The inability of the republican leadership to manege the current complex socio economic end poli-tical processes has become obvious. This, as well as insufficient democracy and openness in resolving the major strategic - issues in the devolopment of Estonia has led to a confidence crisis m this republ ic In our opinion the problems mentioned above make H necessary for the political system of governing the Union republics to b e subjected to redicel renewal, for it to b e brought into accordance with the principles of socialist self-govemement and democracy. FEDERALISM FIRST: In order to couisfenly implement the .eninist thesis of socialist federalism, w e suggest that the Conference consider the need to specify the constitutional safe-guards of the sovereignity of the Union republics. W e deem it necessary to emend the constitutional provisions (Article 73, points 5, 6 and 7) which m effect grant all-Union departments wlimrted power in ' controlling economic activity on the terri-tories of Union republics. W e likewise deem it necessary to specify the notion of the citizenship of the Union republics in the USSR Constitution (Article 33) and, resultant from 1h«t, make a distinc-tion between the rights end duties of citizens with respect to the Soviet Union and their home republics. Also to b e viewed as necessary is the constitutional safeguarding of the equal rights of the Union republics a* r e g s d s the forming of central governing bodies and a considerable enhancement of the participa-tion of the Union republics in making decisions about political and economic matters of all-Union concern, es well es in representing the Soviet Union abroed. Excessive centralization m tite foreign relations impedes economic life, es well as cultural and information exchange in the Union republics. It would *eem timely to raise the point of the Soviet Union as a federation of states being represented et the level of Union republics in intomstional cultural, scientific, sports end other orgeniza-Needing safeguards es a civic right is elso the right of every person to live and work abroad at his or her own discretion and to return home then. There is ti*o a need for a Law on Federation to b e worked out, which would establish the competence of * l l nation-state entities, the purpose of wl)ich would b e the protection and development of the pluralism of national cultures in Soviet society. In order for the constitutional provisions to have legislative safeguards and for them to lend themselves to implementation, the USSR C o d e of Laws needs to b e revised, while the application of individual laws requires a well-defined system of public control, to b e topped by a constitutional court, which would avoid the infringement •nd distortion of the law by legislative and law enforcement institutions themselves. MULTI-CANDIDA CY f " " SECOND: For the principles of socialist democracy to b e ectually implemented, we suggest the Conference call few a radical and urgent alteration of the electoral sys-tem. Most important of all we consider the realization of the freedom to nominate can-didates, the abandonment of the existing bureaucratic rules a* regards the composi-tion of soviets, and the s*feguarir>g of actual multi-candidacy. The Union republics, at the same time, should b e al lowed to work out, on . the basis of common general principles, their own election regulations that would take into account the ievel of the local political culture and the extent of democratic traditions in dif'erent republics. There is also -a need for the functions - of Perty and State bodies to b e clearly differentiated; for the powers of soviets, e l ec ted by popular vote, to b e extended . and safeguarded, as well as for opportuni-ties to b e created for achieving greater competence and continuity in their ectivity. H is necessary to define legislatively and guarantee in practice the holding of referendum* concerning major issues In the public life ot both the whole of the Soviet Union end its constituent republics. THIRD: The progress of perestroika so far has led us to be l ieve that its success can only b e guaranteed by a resolute renewal of both the economic and politi-cal cadres, by the emergence of the young generation in the governing bodies since most of the officials having a way of thinking and a style of management that are characteristic of the stagnation period are only capable of joining in the perestroika effort in words, which is evident from the fact that every new initiative h being actively engaged by breking mechanisms. An essentially new course should b e set by the Conference es regards the democratic renewal of cedrei . which should ^ numerous existing bureaucratic prescriptions. In our soewty the main criteria of one's suitabi-lity for a fob should b e competence honesty, level of political awareness end capability of achieving the goals set. Of particular Importance would b e to limit the holding of elective potts, * t well ai working In the Party and State machinery, to a meitmum of two terms. FOURTH: Vttsl for the progress of porediolka is en increased mutual trust between the people and the authorities. Wa propose that the Conference set the course towards a ' reso lufe elimination of secrecy in all spheres of life, first of all in Party wort and the activity of law enforcement Institutions. It is to b e regarded as natural that the verbatim reports of the sessions of Soviets end the plenary meetings of Party committees be made public. The time has come to reform the activity of lew-courh and the public prosecutor's office: guarantees must b e provided for the unswerving observance of the presumption of innocence; the rights of lawyers must ba extended. State statistics of all aspects in Ihe economic end social life must be rendered trustworthy end fully accessible to the people ; the only limitations to their accessibility should be those necessitated by the national defence requirements. VICTIMS FTTH: So at to provide at 4as t some moral compensation for past wrongs end •Void the recurrence of unlawfulness in future, we deem It necessary for the Conference to denounce Stalinist reprisals •s crimes against the Party, Soviet power •nd humanity, and the admi n 1st rative-bureaucralic system which evolved during that period, as a betrayal of the funda-mental principles os Marxism-Leninism. It b also necessary to complete and make public the rehabilitation of all the innocent victims of that period « n d the perpetuation of their memory. SIXTH: So as to enliven the economy in our country, to bring about a r ^ i d in-crease in local economic activity, to make rational use of natural rescources and to release the creative potential of the whole Soviet /population we deem H e»tremely necesser/ to firmly" decentralize the menagement of the economy. The main principle underlying economic •ctivlty in our country shall become the • priority of territorial management over departmental, which would make the po-pulation of every republic end region the actual masters of the national wealth produced on their territory. Inter-republican and mter-regionel e c o -nomic relations must be based on the principles oi mutually beneficial and equi-valent exchange, ft particularly needs to b e stressed that all regions must be fully supplied with the goods end commodi-ties they themselves produce; otherwise rt would b e impossible to secure the interest of the producers in the results of their activity. With this purpose in mind we propose that Union republics and regions b e granted economic autonomy, including independence in forming their budgets. A proposition to this e t ted by Estonian scientists has met with broad popular suppori in Estonia; the scientific study of the problem that has got underway could enable the Estonian SSR to switch over to economic autonomy already in the next Five-Year-Plan period. INTEft-ETHMIC SEYEKTH: So as to thoroughly Improve inter-ethnic relations in the Soviet Union, H is of utmost Importance to grant all its nationalities actual and complete Indepedence in resolving problems of their national culture, education, publish-ing end other issues in the spiritual . sphere. People from all nationalities must b e provided with a guaranteed right to unimpeded use of their mother tongue on their national territory in all spheres ol life, including the natural right to verna-cular education. W e hope that the 1*1^ All-Union Party Conference will secure the development in our country of a modern socialist society based on friendship and equality emong the peoples and economic advancement; for Its part, the Soviet Estonian cultural community will do every-thing in its power to achieve this goal. Aaals tent Editc* & A L J O K R E L L • K o d n m u " la a w e e k l y n e w s p a p e r ot Use Assoc ia t ion f o r C u f t a r a l R e l a t i o n s -with E s t o n i a n s A b r o a d e n d f o r F r i e n d s h i p a n d Cul tura l R e l a t i o n s w i t h P o r c i f n Countr ies . Address : "Kodnzoaa* , P . O . B o x 421. T i Til I . 1I0BMII i j l Z Etonian SSR, U8S&. Telephone 44 22 £4. •fM.WAf.lf g p P j H j j 


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