The Baltic States (also known as the Baltics, Baltic nations or Baltic countries) are three northern European countries east of the Baltic Sea – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. While the indigenous populations of Latvia and Lithuania are known as Baltic peoples, those of Estonia are Finnic peoples. The Baltics cover 175 000 km², with a population of 6 826 000 people. Baltic States have historically been in the Swedish (or, in Lithuania’s case, Polish), German, Danish, and Russian spheres of influence. In the late 1980s a massive campaign of civil resistance against Soviet rule, known as the Singing Revolution, began. Baltic Way was one of the most spectacular events when a two-million-strong human chain stretched for 600 km from Tallinn to Vilnius on August 23, 1989. In the wake of this campaign Gorbachev’s government had privately concluded that the departure of the Baltic republics had become “inevitable”. This process contributed to the dissolution of the Soviet Union setting a precedent for the other Soviet republics to secede from the USSR. Soviet Union recognized the independence of three Baltic States on September 4, 1991.