This coming August 23rd, on the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way in 1989 and the 80th anniversary of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, EANC is joining forces with several Washington, DC organizations to host a reenactment of the historic linking of hands that marked a turning point in the Baltic nations’ quest for re-independence. We’re inviting Baltic communities and friends across the U.S. to come to the nation’s capital or to organize parallel events in their cities!
The three Baltic embassies, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VoC), and the Joint Baltic American National Committee, along with its parent organizations – the American Latvian Association, the Lithuanian American Council and EANC – have confirmed space on the East Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and are actively working to promote participation in the Friday afternoon event. While focus is on the Estonian-, Latvian- and Lithuanian-American communities, members of the wider Central and East European diaspora, and anyone of any nationality who would like to support the event, are welcome to join in.
The 1939 pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany affected not only the Baltic nations, but also many countries in the region, including Poland, Finland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, Ukraine and Belarus.
The event’s official announcement reminds us that:
The Baltic Way was a peaceful and unique demonstration for the freedom of the Baltic nations. On August 23, 1989, about two million people from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (one-fourth of the populations) joined hands over a distance of 370 miles (similar to the distance between Boston and Washington, DC).
This human chain, linking the three Baltic capitals of Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius, was to protest the Soviet occupation on the 50th anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the secret agreement between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The Pact divided Europe and forcibly kept the Baltic countries behind the Iron Curtain. The Baltic countries, first having established their modern statehood in 1918, regained their independence in 1990-91, and the Baltic Way was a major milestone on their road to regained freedom.
Communities around the U.S. are encouraged to use the DC event as a model, referring to the Facebook event called Baltic Way 30 at the U.S. Capitol at https://ej.uz/BalticWay30. Please RSVP there if you intend to take part in the Washington event and check back for updates and reminders as the day draws closer. EANC hopes to see you in Washington in person, or virtually in your city!
Washington, DC Director
Estonian American National Council