David J. Trimbach, Oregon State University, US and Anu Printsmann, Tallinn University, Estonia

This project aims to understand the socio-cultural legacies and impacts of the Soviet occupation on human-landscape relationships, including maritime cultural landscapes in coastal Estonia. The project contributes a much-needed social science layer to already growing scholarship on what is referred to as Estonia’s Military Green Belt or Cold War Coast. This work has largely focused on the ecological consequences of Soviet colonialism and border zone regime on Estonia’s coastal areas. During this period, colonial landscape injustices were committed by the Soviet state. This was demonstrated by forced coastal community relocation, coastal access restrictions, and confiscation or destruction of privately owned boats for fear of escape. This disruption impacted coastal communities, livelihoods, cultural traditions (eg. fishing) and coastal landscapes.

The project is a collaborative project with the Centre for Landscape and Culture at Tallinn University in Estonia.

The research aims to enhance the knowledge of the impacts of Soviet occupation and colonialism on Estonian landscapes and human-landscape relationships; promote the application of decolonizing methods and approaches within former Soviet occupied space; and advance scholarship about Estonian maritime culture and their landscapes beyond archaeology through an applied social science study.