Historical consciousness, personal life experiences and the orientation of Estonian foreign policy toward the West, 1988–1991 [Kokkuvõte: Ajalooteadvus, isiklikud elukogemused ja Eesti välispoliitika pöördumine Läände, 1988–1991]


  • Kaarel Piirimäe
  • Pertti Grönholm




historical imagination, critical junctures, foreign policy analysis, Soviet Union, Baltic states, Lennart Meri


The years 1988 to 1991 were a critical juncture in the history of Estonia. Crucial steps were taken during this time to assure that Estonian foreign policy would not be directed toward the East but primarily toward the integration with the West. In times of uncertainty and institutional flux, strong individuals with ideational power matter the most. This article examines the influence of Foreign Minister Lennart Meri’s and Prime Minister Edgar Savisaar’s experiences and historical consciousness on their visions of Estonia’s future position in international affairs. Life stories help understand differences in their horizons of expectation, and their choices in conducting Estonian diplomacy.


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Author Biographies

Kaarel Piirimäe

(b. 1979 ), Research Fellow at the Institute of History and Archaeology of the University of Tartu and Senior Research Fellow at the Estonian War Museum

Pertti Grönholm

(b. 1966), Collegium Researcher at the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS) and a Docent at the Department of European and World History at the University of Turku




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