Paths of economic “Westernization” in the late Soviet Union: Estonian market pioneers and their Nordic partners [Majanduse integreerimine Läände: Eesti turumajanduse käivitajad ja nende Põhjamaade partnerid Nõukogude Liidu lõpuaastatel]


  • Lars Fredrik Stöcker



Soviet Estonian economy, perestroika, IME Proposal, market reforms, Swedish-Estonian relations, Finnish-Estonian relations


Estonia’s path towards a market economy started in 1987, when Gorbachev’s market-oriented reform course allowed for an unprecedented level of autonomous cooperation with capitalist countries. The developing networks with Western companies and economists, in particular from the neutral Nordic neighbours Finland and Sweden, played a key role in the process of implementing an increasingly radical pro-market agenda. Unrestricted by diplomatic constraints, Swedish and Finnish entrepreneurs, investors and advisors established numerous links to the evolving Estonian business environment, which was promoted as a bridge to the vast Soviet market. The Nordic connection facilitated the early transfer of market economy thinking and practices to Soviet Estonia and kicked off a long-term rearrangement of economic linkages across the Baltic Sea. Taking into account this transnational cooperation contributes to a new understanding not only of Estonia’s economic transformation, but also of the emergence of a new regional economic order that accompanied the geopolitical changes.


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Author Biography

Lars Fredrik Stöcker

(b. 1979), Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University and Visiting Fellow at the Institute for East European History, University of Vienna