Baltic Chain

Also known as 'The Baltic Way'

An uninterrupted human chain formed on 23 August 1989 and stretching from Tallinn in Estonia through the Latvian capital Riga to Vilnius in Lithuania, with the aim of reminding the world of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact signed fifty years before, which brought about the loss of independence of the three Baltic countries

At 7 p.m. on 23 August 1989, about 2 million Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians held hands, thus forming a human chain for fifteen minutes, stretching from Tallinn to Vilnius. The length of the Baltic chain was about 600 km. The chain recalled the 50th anniversary of signing the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and its secret protocol, which enabled the occupation of the Baltic countries by the Soviet Union. The Baltic chain symbolised the solidarity of the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian people in the name of more extensive sovereignty, at the same time reminding the world of the destruction of independence of the Baltic countries by a secret pact concluded between Germany and the Soviet Union. The Baltic chain was initiated by the Baltic Council, Estonian Popular Front, Latvian Tautas Fronte and Lithuanian Sąjūdis. The Baltic chain in Estonia constituted a culmination of the Singing Revolution, and is considered one of the major political mass demonstrations in world history.

Ribbentrop pact and its secret protocol were finally declared null and void by the Soviet Congress of People’s Deputies in December 1989.

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