Professor and foreign policy analyst Andres Kasekamp said that the main focus of Ilves's speech was the importance of truth in regards to Ukraine conflict. Law professor Lauri Mälksoo said that Ilves also referred to the importance of not appeasing the aggressors.
“Since the age of Enlightenment, we have been searching for truth in the European civilization, but we are now against lies and deception in regards to Ukraine war. In other words, Russia has been trying to turn back the clock, in the period where truth counts for nothing, and deceive everyone so that multiple versions of various events would all look confusing. But of course, it's not the case and Ilves brought up an example of the shooting down of a Malaysian passenger jet in Ukraine last year, in which there can only be one truth,” Kasekamp said.
The fact that Ilves started his speech with the Ukraine topic, was expected, Kasekamp said. “We have to remember that this speech was not only directed to Estonian public, but the entire diplomatic corps was presented among the audience. The diplomats will report home what the Estonian head of state thinks.”
Katri Raik said that the speech had multiple layers and many people found themselves touched. “I'm glad that president had a good word to say about our ordinary citizens, as well as journalists. It is important that in the anniversary speech we thank and appreciate our people.”
Raik added that Estonia's Ida-Viru county, populated mainly by ethnic Russians and the location of Independence Day events this time, was the perfect place to talk about Ukraine and info war. “I tried to listen the speech with a Russian perspective, as the local ethnic Estonian Russians would do, and the local people in this region are also concerned about the security situation. President said clearly that Estonia will not be next target for Russia and the local people believe the same.”
But Raik added that there are multiple opinions in the Ida-Viru county and people are split – there are those who believe the Estonian authorities, but there are others who look towards Russia to get their information.
In law professor Lauri Mälksoo's opinion, Ilves's speech was the best yet. “He referred to Chamberlain and the idea is to send out a message to Europe – if you appease Russia and give what it wants, let it be parts of Ukraine, for example – then it's like accepting the new situation, in the name of short-living peace. I think that the Chamberlain reference pointed out to the possibility that the peace may not be upon us if we choose to appease Russia and accept the land grab in Ukraine,” Mälksoo said.
Editor: S. Tambur