Friday, 8 May 2020

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two

As Europe commemorates 75 years since the end of World War Two, we must remember that the war did not officially end in Estonia until 1994 when the last occupying Soviet (by then Russian) soldier left the country. The Nazi regime was defeated on May 8 1945 but for citizens of the Baltic States and Eastern Europe, their countries were still occupied by the Soviet Union and would remain so for the next fifty years.

Yesterday the Estonian president Kersti Kaljulaid reminded us that "the Baltics and Eastern Europe had “a different history” to the West, which now needs a common “European consciousness,”

Both the Nazi and Soviet regimes were evil and caused death and destruction wherever they went, but for the Estonian people, the Soviets were the worst of the two evils. They caused the most devastation for the Estonian people. Many brave men continued to fight for Estonia after 1945, the Forest Brothers were heroes who were active until 1956 but they were too outnumbered. The Red Army hunted them down and killed them. Thousands of people deemed a threat to Soviet rule were deported to remote parts of Russia.

Estonia endured and suffered much under the Soviet Union and thankfully that all came to an end in 1991 when Estonia's independence was restored. Estonia has since rebuilt itself into a dynamic, modern and innovative country.