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Episode notes

In the very last episode of Stories of The Eastern West as you knew it, we’re taking you to Estonia, 1989. A group of people there made 2 million others hold hands and create a human chain of unprecedented size and significance. The Baltic countries had a truly turbulent 20th century. They went from regaining their independence to losing it to the USSR and becoming subject to a ruthless policy of Russification. Unsurprisingly, they needed something big to jump on the bandwagon of the 1989 peaceful revolutions that liberated several countries from the USSR’s influence. 

What they came up with was a human chain linking Tallinn with Riga and Vilnius. This huge event is something hard to wrap one’s head around nowadays when we think about the scanty means of communication the organisers had. 

Our producer Wojciech went to Estonia and got a chance to talk to several people who co-organised or participated in the event. How was it at all possible? Why wasn’t it thwarted by the communist regime? How do people remember such a defining moment in their lives over 30 years later?

Further listening

  • KAIE / our episode from our mini-series The Final Curtain about ‘The Singing Revolution’ that Adam mentions in the show

Further reading

Further watching


  • Ivi Gubinska, Reet Villig, Eve Sildnik, Andres Tarand and Lukas Hioo for taking the time to discuss this incredible event with us.
  • Keiu Telve and Maia-Liisa Anton for connecting us with Baltic Way participants and their thoughtful discussions about the meaning of the event. 


Written & produced by Wojciech OleksiakEdited by Adam Zulawski & Nitzan ReisnerHosted by Nitzan Reisner & Adam ZulawskiScoring & sound design by Wojciech Oleksiak