Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania mark 30 years since Baltic Way human chain

Events are being held across Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to mark 30 years since two million people from the three countries joined hands to create a 600-kilometre human chain that spread across the Baltic states from Vilnius to Tallinn.

The Baltic Way human chain – originally organised to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Nazi-Soviet pact, signed on August 23, 1939 – is considered a watershed moment on the path of the three countries towards independence from the Soviet Union.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, who himself attended the protest near the Latvian border 30 years ago, said the Baltic Way “has become a unique event that today inspires other nations.”

One of those nations is Hong Kong, where over a million people are expected to recreate the Baltic Way on the evening of August 23.

Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid called the Baltic Way “one of the most noteworthy peaceful appeals for freedom in the history of the world.”

Her Latvian counterpart, Egils Levits, said it “was a political innovation back in the day, something no one had tried before.”

One of the commemorative events will see more than 2,000 old radios sound in unison in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.

The idea for the radio installation was elaborated jointly by the Lithuanian national broadcaster, LRT, and two young Lithuanian artists − Viačeslavas Mickevičius and Ieva Makauskaitė.

“I always wondered how people could organise such massive events without any smart technologies,” said Mr Mickevičius.

“It appears that the main role was played by the radio. Special radio broadcasts helped to coordinate the rally. With this installation we want to pay tribute to the radio and to express the vibe of unity among our people.”