Latvians killed a Giant with a song

Sandra Kalniete (latvia) | 20.01.2015

Pe aceeași temă

In 1988, Western leaders had already accepted M. Gorbachev as a reliable partner of the disarmament dialogue and of reforms in the Soviet Union. In turn, he needed Western help to prevent the economic collapse of the USSR. This restricted him from sharp intervention, when in the summer of 1989 changes stirred in Eastern Europe and in November the Berlin Wall fell. The revolution in the Baltic States, which began in 1988, confronted M. Gorbachev with a bitter choice: to retain a united Soviet Union or lose Eastern Europe. As he was no longer able to hold both, he let Eastern Europe go.


The events in Eastern Europe and the fall of the Berlin Wall were the beginning of the reunification of Europe. Our contribution to this process was the Baltic Singing Revolutions. It pains me to know how little the world knows about the Baltic Revolution and its role in the fall of the Iron Curtain and the disintegration of the Soviet Union.


I wrote my memories about the Latvian singing revolution. My book A Song to Kill a Giant is available in English for free on The book tells the story of the many people, who overcoming fear engrained in them by the soviet regime, eventually became involved in the struggle for independence. Through their efforts, in the spring of 1990, the Baltic peoples’ movements gained constitutional majority in the Supreme Council elections. Thus, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian independence was restored by parliamentary means.


The national liberation movements of the Baltic people became the political foundation for the restoration of the independent countries, building of democratic structures and the extensive cooperation with partners in the West. The prospect of becoming full members of the EU and NATO was one of the most important driving forces in the development of the Baltic States. In 2004, Latvia, along with her Baltic sisters, became a member of the EU and NATO.

By fate I was ordained to be at the historical epicenter of events. Being at the eye of the storm is fascinating, but it requires your full mental and physical energy; it completely drains you. When the revolution ended and the re-establishing and re-constructing of our nation began, it took a couple of years for me to recover to the point where I could once again serve my people.






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