Clinton hails Baltic Way anniversary; human chain planned in Washington

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has applauded Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians on the 20th anniversary of the Baltic Way protest against Soviet rule, calling the Aug. 23, 1989, event “a landmark in the struggle for self-determination.”

In a statement released Aug. 21, Clinton said the protest inspired many people around the world.

The 1989 demonstration saw an estimated 2 million people in the Baltic republics create a human chain that stretched 600 kilometers. The date, Aug. 23, marked the 50th anniversary of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The pact included a secret protocol that led to Soviet occupation the Baltics.

Clinton noted that people in the Baltics will commemorate the anniversary with various public and private activities.

“They have many reasons to be proud,” Clinton said in the statement. “The same determination and spirit that fueled the Baltic Way protests have helped the Baltic republics become champions of human rights and democracy. They are valued members of NATO and the European Union and provide leadership around the world.”

“On this historic occasion,” she added, “let me reaffirm the commitment of the United States to strengthen and deepen our partnerships with the people and governments of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.”

Events in Washington

In Washington, D.C., the Baltic Way will be commemorated in an Aug. 23 reenactment in which participants will be asked to link hands in a human chain from the Embassy of Latvia at 2306 Massachusetts Ave. N.W. to the Embassy of Estonia at 2131 Massachusetts Ave. N.W. The demonstration begins at 2 p.m.

The reenactment will be preceded with observances beginning at 11 a.m. in the Embassy of Lithuania, 2622 16th St. N.W.

A demonstration of solidarity with Georgia is planned at 2:30 p.m. at the Embassy of Georgia, 2209 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.

In addition, the documentary film The Soviet Story will be screened at 1:15 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the Embassy of Latvia.

The events are being coordinated by the Joint Baltic American National Committee. Further information is available by visiting

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *