Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Estonia in the 1930s: Politics and Society at a Time of Impending Crisis

28 February 2019, 5:30 pm–8:30 pm


This seminar will present a variety of perspectives on Estonia in the 1930s, followed by a panel discussion.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Mart Kuldkepp


IAS Common Ground
Ground floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

As a small state with less than 20 years of independence behind it, 1930s Estonia will serve as a case study of societal and political responses to the ramping up of international tensions in Europe in the aftermath of the Great Depression of 1929-1933 and in the lead-up to World War II. In the end, Estonia had the misfortune of becoming one of the states in the region of what Yale historian Timothy Snyder calls the ‘Bloodlands’: the part of Europe crushed by the armies of both Hitler and Stalin in bloodshed and genocide. The speakers and the audience are invited to reflect on the question of whether anything could have been done – or could have gone – differently.

The speakers:

  • Liisi Karjus (PhD Student, School of Social and Political Science, University of Glasgow)
    Building the National Home: Statist Ideas within Nationalism during Estonia’s 'Silent Era' (1934-1940)

  • Paris Pin-Yu Chen (PhD Student, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, UCL)
    The Estonian Nationalist Club and the Racial Question in the 1930s

  • Dr Mari-Leen Tammela (Junior Research Fellow, Department of History, University of Tartu)
    Shades of Red: The Left in 1930s Estonian Politics and Society

  • Panel discussion with the speakers
    Chair: Dr Mart Kuldkepp (Associate Professor, Department of Scandinavian Studies, UCL)

The seminar is connected to the Kickstarting Baltic Studies at UCL initiative, funded in 2017 by the Dean's Strategic Fund (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ssees/news/2018/apr/kickstarting-baltic-studies-ucl), and led by Dr Allan Sikk (SSEES) and Dr Mart Kuldkepp (Department of Scandinavian Studies).

The IAS Common Ground is located in the South Wing of UCL Wilkins Building, within the Institute of Advance Studies (IAS).