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1920-1940: The Years of Independence

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Chapter Summary

Due to its geographic location and its cultural and linguistic af liation with Finland, Estonia has close links with Northern Europe. The internal crisis in the Soviet Union, in general, and the bitter rivalry between Gorbachev and Yeltsin, in particular, provided the necessary political context for the recognition of independent Baltic republics. The concept of state continuity constitutes, however, the basis of the Baltic States' internal and external policy and is re ected in the constitutions of each Baltic republic. The international legal status of the Baltic States, therefore, forms the crucial determinant of these countries' domestic development and their evolving relations with Russia and the EU. Political status and identity in the sense of belonging to the European cultural tradition was a reason for the three Baltic States to pursue a strategy of close integration into the EU.

Keywords: Baltic states; Estonia; international legal status; Soviet Union; state continuity



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