Description of the Project
The project seeks to scientifically analyze the work of outstanding citizens in the fight against totalitarianism, as an example of Europeanism and intensive work for a better society, a memory of the fight for freedom and a balanced society.
The Baltic Way was a peaceful political demonstration that took place on August 23, 1989. Approximately two million people joined hands to form a human chain that spanned 675.5 kilometers (419.7 mi) in the three Baltic states: Estonia , Latvia and Lithuania, which were considered at the time to be constituent republics of the Soviet Union.
The demonstration originated from the "Black Belt Day" protests held in Western cities in the 1980s. It marked the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The pact and its secret protocols divided Eastern Europe into spheres of influence and led to the occupation of the Baltic states in 1940. The event was organized by Baltic civil society movements. The protest was designed to gain global attention by demonstrating a popular desire for independence and showing solidarity among the three nations. The event provided an opportunity for Baltic citizens to publicize the Soviet occupation and position the issue of Baltic independence not only as a political issue, but also as a moral issue. The Soviet authorities responded to the event with intense rhetoric, but did not take any constructive steps that could close the widening gap between the Baltic republics and the rest of the Soviet Union. After seven months of protest, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare its independence.
After the Revolutions of 1989, August 23 has become an official commemoration day both in the Baltic countries, in the European Union and in other countries, known as Black Ribbon Day or as the European Day of Commemoration of the Victims of Stalinism and Nazism.
The project looks for opportunities for a debate on major European historical events beyond national perspectives. The scientific approach highlights the importance of working globally at the European level to solve problems that threaten democracy and freedom, understanding that the past helps foster a debate on how to address current problems in Europe. The analys how the Baltic society, organized under the leadership of emotional aspirations, tried to mitigate common problems and how it collided with the totalitarian regime impose by Soviet Union.
What Was the Baltic chain?
Three Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – demonstrated their solidarity in their quest for independence by forming a human chain on August 23, 1989. Approximately 2 million people joined their hands that day. The extraordinary event drew global attention and finally led to the Baltic States regaining their independence. The human chain spanning over 600 kilometers was registered in The Guinness Book of Records.
Baltic Way (Lithuanian: Baltijos kelias, Latvian: Baltijas ceļš, Estonian: Balti kett) or Baltic Chain (also "Chain of Freedom"). The demonstration originated in "Black Ribbon Day" protests held in the western cities in the 1980s. It marked the 50th anniversary of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, in which Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Romania were (as "spheres of influence") divided between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The Soviet-Nazi pact led to the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 and the Soviet invasion and occupation of the Baltic countries in June 1940.
The 1989 event was organised by the Baltic pro-independence movements: Rahvarinne of Estonia, the Tautas fronte of Latvia, and Sąjūdis of Lithuania, to draw global attention by demonstrating a popular desire for independence and showcasing solidarity among the three nations. It has been described as an effective publicity campaign, and an emotionally captivating and visually stunning scene.
The event presented an opportunity for the Baltic activists to publicise the Soviet rule and position the question of Baltic independence not only as a political matter, but also as a moral issue. The Soviet authorities responded to the event with intense rhetoric, but failed to take any constructive actions that could bridge the widening gap between the Baltic republics and the rest of the Soviet Union. Seven months after the protest Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to declare independence.
The 23 August 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact divided "the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)" into German and Soviet "spheres of influence" (German copy)
After the Revolutions of 1989, 23 August has become an official remembrance day both in the Baltic countries, in the European Union and in other countries, known as the Black Ribbon Day or as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism.
LINKS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Online exhibition of the History Museum on Estonia on the Baltic Way
Baltic Chain Tour
It takes place in 3 countries: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. 20 teams has been invited by the organizers with 7 riders from each team. From August 2011, Baltic Chain Tour marks the anniversary of the Baltic Chain. It is also one of the longest annual cycling tours in the Northern Europe. Baltic Chain Tour belongs to UCI 2.2 category cycling tours
Webpage dedicated to general dissemination on the Baltic Way