Of the three Baltic states, only Estonia established a formal government in exile. In the cases of Latvia and Lithuania, sovereign authority had been vested in its diplomatic legations. Even with regard to Estonia, the legations were the primary instrument for the conduct of diplomacy and for administering the daily matters of state (such as issuing passports). Estonia’s primary legation was the consulate in New York.
Under the Stimson Doctrine, USA, and under similar doctrines, the legitimacy of the Soviet occupation of Baltic states was never recognized. As primary diplomatic authority was exercised by the Estonian consulate (in New York), the government in exile’s role from Oslo was, to a great degree, symbolic in nature.
However, the Estonian government in exile did serve to carry the continuity of the Estonian state forward. The last prime minister in the duties of the president, Heinrich Mark, ended the work of the government in exile when he handed over his credentials to the incoming President Lennart Meri on October 8, 1992. Meri issued a statement thanking the Estonian government in exile for being the keepers of the legal continuity of the Estonian state.
A group of activists including Mihkel Mathiesen, Kalev Ots and Ahti Mänd refused to accept the dissolution of the government in exile, claiming that no Estonian government could be legitimate unless its authority was derived from the 1938 Constitution. They reconstituted the government in exile, based in Nõmme to this day.
Read more about this topic: Estonian Government In Exile
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