Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has pulished interviews with top government personalities of the time to get their observations of the transition from a Soviet occupied country to an independent republic. Arnold Rüütel, in 1991 the Chairman of the Presidium of the Estonian Supreme Soviet, offers his coments about specific events of the time without any new revelations 25 years.
Rüütel starts by describing how Soviet forces invaded Estonia in agreement with Nazi Germany in the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Sixty years later he witnessed Estonia acceeding to NATO and the European Union, which he names as the most memorable developments and events of his lifetime. He also added his own refusal in 2005 to participate in the May 9th celebrations in Moscow. He wanted to spend the time with ‘his people’. This particular time he considers to have been the most stressful of his career.
Now, Rüütel claims, the security of the Baltic countries is guaranteed. Thus the RFERL interview opens with the information agency calling Rüütel a ‘reform minded’ top official of Soviet Estonia during the turbulent 1980s.
Rüütel identifies three Russian politicians who have most influenced the status of Estonia: Peter I, Joseph Stalin, Mihhail Gorbachev with the addition of Boris Jeltsin.
Rüütel dwells upon occurences of August 1991. He received a phone call in which he was warned of the dangers associated with the failed coup, namely arrest. (Hardline members of the Politburo of the Soviet Communist Party Central Committee had attempted to organize a takeover of Soviet Union thereby ending a drift towards liberalization that had been the policy of Gorbachev. It has been said that Rüütel knew who was to be appointed in occupied Estonia from the Kremlin had the coup been successful. No disclosure from him.) To the phone caller Rüütel said that he would convene the Estonian Supreme Soviet and that a decision would be adopted that Estonia would not submit to the demands of the coup. That is what took place on August 20,1991 when the Estonian Supreme Soviet declared the restoration of an independent Estonian Republic. (Pikemalt Eesti Elu 26. veebr. paberlehest)
What top officials during return to independence experienced Estonian Life