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Fascinating Photos of Estonia in the Early 1990s, Just After the Independence

Estonia is a country in Northern Europe. It consists of the mainland and 2,222 islands on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. Throughout much of its history, Estonia has been dominated by foreign powers. After the Second World War, it became a constituent republic of the USSR. In 1991, Estonia declared its independence along with the rest of the Baltic states. Following the Soviet Union’s recognition of Estonia’s independence on September 6, 1991, the Baltic states became members of the United Nations. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Estonia reoriented its economy toward market capitalism and transformed into a parliamentary democracy. Estonia experienced a significant influx of immigration during the second half of the 20th century due to extensive migration and annexation from the Soviet Union in 1940.

Estonia was essentially an industrial region at the height of the Soviet economy, with agriculture making up a smaller share. The agriculture and industry sectors remain essential parts of the Estonian economy. Still, their share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the labor force has declined while commerce and services have grown. During the transition to a market-based economy, the Estonian economy experienced an initial downturn (falling production, inflation, and unemployment). Still, it recovered by the middle of the 1990s, and it improved some more throughout the following decade.

Below are some fascinating photos from Jens-Olaf Walter show what Estonia looked like in the early 1990s, just after the independence.

#1 Tartu Market Hall, December 1991

Tartu Market Hall, December 1991

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#2 Abandoned Soviet camp in Võru, 1991

Abandoned Soviet camp in Võru, 1991

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#3 Kalev, advertising in Tallinn, 1991

Kalev, advertising in Tallinn, 1991

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#4 Ruins after Soviet air raids in 1944, Tallinn, 1991

Ruins after Soviet air raids in 1944, Tallinn, 1991

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#5 Silhouette Tallinn, December 1991

Silhouette Tallinn, December 1991

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#6 Tallinn child, December 1991

Tallinn child, December 1991

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#7 Tartu industrial, 1991

Tartu industrial, 1991

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#8 Valga, 1991

Valga, 1991

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#9 Russian Market”, Annelinn, Tartu, 1992

Russian Market", Annelinn, Tartu, 1992

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#10 Mikrorajoon, Annelinn, Tartu, 1992

Mikrorajoon, Annelinn, Tartu, 1992

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#11 Old town, Tartu, 1992

Old town, Tartu, 1992

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#12 Selvehall, a dreary supermarket on the outskirts of Tartu, 1992

Selvehall, a dreary supermarket on the outskirts of Tartu, 1992

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#13 Stadium in Tartu, 1992

Stadium in Tartu, 1992

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#14 An abandoned soviet military compound near Võru, 1992

An abandoned soviet military compound near Võru, 1992

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#15 Annelinn, Tartu, 1992

Annelinn, Tartu, 1992

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#16 Bus stop in Annelinn, Tartu, 1992

Bus stop in Annelinn, Tartu, 1992

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#17 Cipsi, chips-fabrik, Tartu, 1992

Cipsi, chips-fabrik, Tartu, 1992

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#18 Deserted military compound, Võru, 1992

Deserted military compound, Võru, 1992

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#19 Eesti Polevkivi, 1992

Eesti Polevkivi, 1992

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#20 Government crisis. Edgar Savisaar (Prime Minister 1990-92) leaving Toompea, Tallinn, 1992

Government crisis. Edgar Savisaar (Prime Minister 1990-92) leaving Toompea, Tallinn, 1992

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#21 Kaitseliit -Voluntary army, Tallinn, 1992

Kaitseliit -Voluntary army, Tallinn, 1992

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#22 New border, Valga Valka, Estonia, 1992

New border, Valga Valka, Estonia, 1992

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#23 Old town near Raekoja, Tartu, 1992

Old town near Raekoja, Tartu, 1992

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#24 Relic of Soviet, Tallinn, 1992

Relic of Soviet, Tallinn, 1992

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#25 Shopping ‘Passaaz’ in Tartu, 1992

Shopping 'Passaaz' in Tartu, 1992

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#26 Soviet Navy in Tallinn harbor (Remaining facilities during the early 90s), 1992

Soviet Navy in Tallinn harbor (Remaining facilities during the early 90s), 1992

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#27 Tartu bridge, 1992

Tartu bridge, 1992

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#28 Tartu, 1992

Tartu, 1992

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#29 Tartu, 1992

Tartu, 1992

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#30 Tartu, 1992

Tartu, 1992

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#31 Telecommunication, Tartu, 1992

Telecommunication, Tartu, 1992

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#32 Border between Valga and Valka, 1992

Border between Valga and Valka, 1992

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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