Although most countries gave at least de facto recognition to Soviet Estonia, the US never recognized its incorporation into the USSR. During the late 1980's, the Baltics defied the central government and moved toward independence. After the collapse of Soviet Communism in 1991, the three Baltic States were given their freedom. The Soviet Government officially recognized their independence on September 6, 1991. All three countries joined the United Nations later that month.
Estonia's eastern border with Russia was in dispute soon after Estonia's independence. In 1945, some Estonian territory was transferred to the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic and Estonia now claimed this territory as its own. The government gave Estonian passports to Estonian-speaking people in the territory. The Russian government accused Estonia of trying to annex Russian territory. In 1994, Russia began to construct border posts along the former Soviet border between Estonia and Russia. The border issue as well as the mistreatment of ethnic Russians in Estonia continue to be sources of disagreement between the two nations.
Estonia's relations with other nations have improved. In September 1993, it signed a free-trade agreement with the two other Baltic States. In February 1994, Estonia signed the Partnership for Peace accord. It agreed on limited military cooperation with NATO.
In 1994, the last Russian troops left Estonia. In return, Estonia allowed retired Soviet personnel in Estonia to apply for residency. In August 1994, the Riigikogu passed a vote of no confidence in the government of Mart Laar. Andres Tarand was made interim Prime Minister. In March 1995 elections, reform parties were replaced with left-wing parties. Tiit Vahi was named Prime Minister.