Self-Managing Estonia

​This was the name of an economic programme worked out in 1987 when Estonia was moving towards independence. It attracted a huge response, as it suggested that the economy of Soviet Estonia should essentially be separated from the economy of the rest of the Soviet Union.

The Self-Managing economic programme (the Estonian abbreviation is IME, which means ‘miracle’) was worked out in September 1987 by a group of Estonian economists. The programme showed that the Estonian economy could survive independently. One of the perestroika-era arguments for keeping the Soviet Union whole was the claim that the republics within the union would not manage on their own. IME emphasised the opposite.

The programme was published on 26 September 1987 in the Tartu newspaper Edasi. The signatories included Siim Kallas, deputy editor of the leading Soviet Estonian daily Rahva Hääl; Tiit Made, economist and radio and television commentator on international affairs; Edgar Savisaar, head of department of the Soviet Estonian state planning committee and Mikk Titma, social scientist. According to the programme, the Estonian economy was supposed to rely on the laws of value and commercial-monetary relations. The economy on the territory of Soviet Estonia was to be subjected only to the Soviet Estonian government. Areas of economy that relied on local resources, were culturally acceptable and in accord with economic traditions were favoured. Trading with other Soviet republics and foreign countries was to be organised via the market directly between producers and consumers. Soviet Estonia had to work out its own tax system. Local budgets were to be separated from the budget of the Estonian SSR. Such ideas were naturally in opposition to Communist Party policies and caused disapproval from the authorities.

The Self-Managing Programme as such was never realised; some of its elements appeared in the economic programme of the Popular Front. The programme instilled a general hope in the possibility of economic independence. The political independence movement had started on 23 August 1987 with a meeting in Hirvepark in Tallinn.

Details about this article