Tape of Ernst Jaakson's Estonian Independence Day Speech
In the 1980s, Karl Laantee was an announcer with the Voice of America, the American propaganda radio station. It broadcast to Soviet Estonia, and provided its listeners with an alternative source of information. In 1981, the station broadcast an Independence Day speech by the Estonian diplomat Ernst Jaakson, the chief diplomatic representative of the Republic of Estonia in the United States until Estonia regained its independence in 1991. He was an unofficial symbol of Estonia’s legal continuity during the Soviet occupation. Therefore, his speech, which was broadcast in Soviet Estonia, was a remarkable gesture against the Soviet occupation.
Officials in Soviet Estonia jammed Western radio stations, including the Voice of America. It was possible to listen to it, even though the station was jammed. Today the Voice of America is remembered mostly positively. Materials about the Voice of America are not widely used in research, although the station is often mentioned. Because the Karl Laantee personal archive is not often used, Ernst Jaakson’s speech is also rarely, if ever, used.
Tartu Wilhelm Struve 1, Estonia 51003
- Koppel, Taavi