President: Treaty of Tartu is the birth certificate of the Estonian state ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Kersti Kaljulaid at Vanemuise Concert Hall in Tartu.
Kersti Kaljulaid at Vanemuise Concert Hall in Tartu. Source: Office of the President.

President Kersti Kaljulaid said the Tartu Peace Treaty is and will always remain the birth certificate of the Estonian state in her speech marking the 100th anniversary of the treaty.

On Sunday, the president took part in celebrations in Tartu dedicated to the centennial anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty.

This including laying a wreath at the grave of Julius Kuperjanov, an officer killed in action during the War of Independence, an ecumenical church service, the presentation of a new book about the War of Independence at Tartu City Museum, and a ceremony at Vanemuine Concert Hall.

On February 2, 1920, the signing of the treaty between the Republic of Estonia and Soviet Russia ended the 431-day War of Independence. 

President Kersti Kaljulaid at a church service in Tartu to make the 100th anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty. Source: Office of the President.

"The Tartu Peace Treaty signed here 100 years ago today symbolizes the achievement of a great miracle. A miracle that most people could not have imagined until a few years ago. Estonia became a free country. The Estonian nation had won, successfully defending its freedom in a bloody war against a most powerful enemy," the president said.

"The Tartu Peace Treaty not only formalized the victory both legally and diplomatically, but it also laid the foundations for the wider recognition of Estonia as an independent and sovereign state. Our country became a subject of international relations instead of an object," she said.

The Tartu Peace Treaty was, is and will always remain the birth certificate of the Estonian state, the president said.

"And it is valid. Estonia did not join the Soviet Union voluntarily. We were occupied. And we restored our independence on the basis of legal continuity. At the same time we must respect the international consensus on refraining from any further redrawing of the post-war borders in Europe. Arguments to the contrary only create unnecessary confusion," Kaljulaid said.

Kersti Kaljulaid at Vanemuine Concert Hall in Tartu. Source: Office of the President.

"A country's foreign policy cannot be driven by nostalgia and emotions, it must be balanced and rational. As it was the case for us in the War of Independence. The importance of both the military and diplomatic goals of the security policy must be understood. The goals must be common and immune to misinterpretation. Once agreed on, they must be adhered to. We will then remain as victorious as we were 100 years ago," the president said.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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