About Joonas Vangonen

I began my academic studies at the University of Tartu in 2011, specifying on punk in Estonia/Estonian SSR. My bachelor’s thesis (supervisor Dr. Olaf Mertelsmann) was titled “Punk in ESSR 1980-1991” and was defended in 2015. As of now, I am finishing my mater’s thesis titled “The role of punks and their relationships with the Estonian society 1985-1995” (supervisor Olaf Mertlesmann) with the defending taking place in May 2017. I am mostly interested in the punk movement in Estonia but also in the Republics of the Soviet Union where it remains – due to the unaccessability to the historical documents – a largely unstudied subject.

Research project: Estonian punk (1985-1995)

Punks in Tallinn, ca. 1982. Photo: Arno Saar, collection of Tõnu Trubetsky.

The first punk bands in the ESSR were established at the end of the 1970s. Punk was blacklisted in the ESSR, after youth riots erupted at a September 1980 concert of the punk band Propeller. During the first half of the 1980s the punk movement was small but steady in size. The punk’s main ways of expression were extravagant behaviour and clothes, organizing illegal concerts and social life in Tallinn’s cafés. Nevertheless, being a punk was socially frowned upon and meant problems with family, in school and in public where the youths were ofter arrested by the militsiya. Continue reading