DOCUMENTING SOVIET CRIMES IN ESTONIA

The Hoover Institution in the United States and the National Archives of Estonia have signed an agreement of cooperation for digitizing and sharing records pertaining to Estonia it was reported in January of 2012. Excerpts below:

The first project will be Hoover Archives’ acquiring copies of selected groups of records of the NKVD and of its successor, the KGB of the former Estonian SSSR.

Estonia was occupied by Soviet troops as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, which divided much of East Central Europe between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia. The military takeover was followed by arrests and the gradual liquidation of the political and military elites in the occupied countries and territories. During the first months of Soviet occupation over eight thousand people were arrested and twenty-two hundred murdered, this however was only the beginning of the national tragedy. By the end of the war, Estonia lost at least 200,000 people, or about 20 percent of its population, to repression, exodus, and war. Then the systematic settlement of ethnic Russians reduced the Estonian population to barely a majority in its own country.

More than ninety thousand digitized images of Estonian SSSR KGB documents are already available in the Hoover Archives, complementing similar documentation received concurrently from Lithuania (see “Agents of History,” Hoover Digest, 1, winter 2010). The project is expected to continue for several years, resulting in the transfer to Stanford of copies of vast Soviet-era archival resources documenting Estonia’s tragic history during five decades of Soviet occupation.

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