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Behind the Iron Curtain

Soviet Estonia in the Era of the Cold War


Edited By Tõnu Tannberg

During the Cold War, Estonia lay behind the Iron Curtain. Even in the grip of Soviet rule, the country underwent many important developments. This volume brings together fourteen papers on the political, economic, and cultural history of Estonia during the Cold War. Their topics range from international relations and the border regime to tourism and the media. The papers are based on extensive archival research and make use of many previously unexamined documents. The resulting book offers new insights into the history of Estonia and of the Cold War on a local level.
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Finnish Foreign Tourism in the Estonian SSR during the Cold War, 1955–1980


← 294 | 295 →Oliver Pagel

Abstract: The paper provides an overview of how the pleasure trips of Finns to the ESSR began, highlights the main points in this process, and analyzes the growth in tourism to Estonia and the social background of the tourists. The opening of a direct ferry line in 1965 had a large impact. This study ends with the year 1980, when the sailing regatta of the Moscow Olympic Games was held in Tallinn.

Countless articles and books have been written on the Cold War over the last 50 years. The subject has undoubtedly attracted a great deal of attention from historians. Various attempts have been made to define the Cold War, but a precise definition remains elusive. There is an analogous problem with the term “Iron Curtain.” Was it an impenetrable (psychological and physical) wall rigidly separating East and West, or was it permeable to the spread of people, ideas, and information?

One possibility is to see the Cold War as a conflict on several levels where soft policy was used in parallel with hard policy in different crises, the arms race, and international politics. Cultural diplomacy was one form of soft policy. Multifaceted cultural diplomacy incorporated different cultural and social spheres, from mass media (television, radio), fashion, consumerism, and ways of thinking to international art and science exchange programs. One branch of cultural diplomacy was foreign tourism.1

Foreign, or in other words international, tourism and foreign policy share...

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