Estonian Sovereignty Declaration
The Estonian Sovereignty Declaration (Estonian: suveräänsusdeklaratsioon), fully: Declaration on the Sovereignty of the Estonian SSR (Deklaratsioon Eesti NSV suveräänsusest) was issued on November 16, 1988  during the Singing Revolution in Estonia. The declaration asserted Estonia's sovereignty and the supremacy of the Estonian laws over the laws of the Soviet Union. Estonia's parliament also laid claim to the republic's natural resources: land, inland waters, forests, mineral deposits and to the means of industrial production, agriculture, construction, state banks, transportation, municipal services, etc. in the territory of Estonia's borders. November 16 is now celebrated annually as the "Day of Declaration of Sovereignty".
Estonia had gained independence in the aftermath of World War I and Estonian War of Independence (1918–1920). In 1940 as a consequence of the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact and its Secret Additional Protocol of August 1939 Estonia was occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union.
The majority of Western nations refused to recognize the incorporation of the Estonia de jure by the Soviet Union and only recognized the government of Estonian SSR de facto or not at all. Such countries recognized Estonian/Latvian/Lithuanian diplomats and consuls who still functioned in the name of their former governments. These aging diplomats persisted in this anomalous situation until the ultimate restoration of Baltic independence.
In the 1980s new policies Perestroika and Glasnost were introduced and political repression in the Soviet Union came to an end. As the result during the 1991 Soviet coup d'état attempt the 20 August 1991 declaration proclaimed the reestablishment of the independent Estonian republic. On September 6, 1991 the USSR recognized the independence of Estonia and the country was admitted to the UN on September 17.
After more than 3 years of negotiations, on August 31, 1994, the armed forces of Russia withdrew from Estonia. The Russian Federation officially ended its military presence in Estonia after it relinquished control of the nuclear reactor facilities in Paldiski in September 1995. Estonia joined European Union in 2004, shortly after it became a member of NATO.
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