Soviet Union Cry Independence

Pushing for sovereignty, the Baltics shape the future of perestroika

Sitting in his spacious, wood-paneled office in the Estonian capital of Tallinn, Communist Party leader Vaino Valjas, 58, wryly sums up the situation in his tiny Baltic republic with a peasant proverb: Better to see once than to hear a hundred times. The former Soviet Ambassador to Nicaragua was called home only a year ago to take up his new post, but what Valjas has already witnessed in those tumultuous twelve months is nothing less than a revolution, from the birth of unofficial political movements like the Estonian Popular Front to the bruising constitutional crisis with Moscow over the republic's sovereignty....

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