Article "The Formation and Development of the Estonian Diaspora" by Tiit Tammaru, Kaja Kumer-Haukanõmm and Kristi Anniste is published in the august edition of Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (Vol. 36 Issue 7 2010)
The Estonian diaspora was formed by two major, completed, waves of emigration and one further, emerging, wave of out-migration. The first mass emigration started in the mid-nineteenth century and lasted until World War I. During this period, demographic transition was taking place, yet there were limited options for urbanward migration within Estonia. This situation forced many Estonians to look for alternative destinations. Russia attracted migrants to its new agricultural lands and thus the Eastern sub-diaspora of Estonia took shape. The Western sub-diaspora emerged as a result of a second mass emigration in the form of a refugee exodus during World War II. The third and ongoing wave of emigration began at the end of the 1980s, and has broadened the geographical extent of the Western sub-diaspora. This paper outlines the formation of the Estonian sub-diasporas in the East and West, and clarifies the spatial and temporal changes they have undergone. While the formation of the Eastern sub-diaspora is relatively well studied, there are research gaps on the development of the Western one. This paper presents new archival evidence that documents the formation of the Western sub-diaspora, particularly in relation to the period following the Soviet era. We also present data on emigration since Estonia regained independence. Key findings indicate that the Eastern sub-diaspora continues to contract, while the size of the Western element of the diaspora has remained stable throughout the postwar period. The continued viability of the Western sub-diaspora is a result of new emigration since the collapse of the Soviet Union, but this outwards migration is smaller in scale than the two earlier periods of mass emigration.