On Saturday, Aug. 27, Estosadok, an Estonian village in the Sochi region of Russia whose name means “Little Estonian garden” in Russian, celebrated the 130th anniversary of its establishment. Part of the program of events celebrating the occasion was the premiere of Estonian director Aljona Suržikova’s documentary.
In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed hosting the Winter Olympics in the summer resort town of Sochi, located on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. Following this proposal, intensive construction work began which thoroughly changed the lives of the people living in the Little Estonian Garden. Director Aljona Suržikova and the crew of Amrion Production Company observed the life and changes of this village beginning in 2008.
In addition to locals, Estosadok’s birthday party was also attended by people with Estonian roots from surrounding villages as well as Abkhazian Estonians from the villages of Salme and Sulev. Representing the Estonian Embassy in Moscow were Consul Ulvi Peets and Press Affairs Attaché Silver Küngas.
Following a concert, the documentary “Snow on the Krasnaya Polyana” was screened with an introduction by Suržikova. The 200-seat hall at the Estonian Cultural Center was unable to accommodate everyone interested in seeing the documentary and many viewers were forced to sit on extra chairs brought in or even on the floor.
“The screening of the movie was highly emotional,” said Suržikova. “One of the most memorable parts of the preceding concert was the Estonian-language performance of the Little Estonian Garden’s children’s choir Päike. In addition to children with Estonian roots, there are many Russian children in the choir. What is interesting is that they all want to learn Estonian. Also heartwarming was the fact that representatives of multiple ethnicities performed: Chechens, Georgians, Greeks, Russians, who thus conveyed their well-wishes.”
“Snow on the Krasnaya Polyana” is slated to premiere in Estonian movie theaters this fall.
A little Estonian garden in Russia
In the mountains near Sochi live the sixth-generation descendants of over 30 Estonian families who settled in the region during the late 19th century, establishing the village known still today as Estosadok.
“Many local residents would like to learn Estonian, the language of their forefathers, but they have neither teachers nor textbooks and there is no funding available for the conducting of any such study,” claimed Suržikova, who visited Estosadok multiple times during production.
Anyone interested donating to support the purchase of Estonian language textbooks and organization of language courses for the village’s residents may do so on the fundraising site Hooandja (link in Estonian).
Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik