Thursday's flag day marks Treaty of Tartu 103rd anniversary

The original Tartu Peace Treaty.
The original Tartu Peace Treaty. Source: EV100

Thursday is a flag day in Estonia as the 103rd anniversary of the signing of the Tartu Peace Treaty, which marked the end of the Estonian War of Independence and established the country as an independent republic.

The main solemnities take place in Estonia's' second city, starting at 9.00 a.m. with the laying of commemorative wreaths on the War of Independence memorial, in the Paulus cemetery.

Wreaths will also be laid in the Raadi cemetery, at the grave of freedom fighter Julius Kuperjanov (1894-1919).

At 10.00 a.m., another ceremony takes place at the Kalevipoeg war memorial, attended by Mayor of Tartu . Mayor Urmas Klaas (Reform), Education Minister Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa), Estonian National Defense College (Kaitseväe akadeemia) chief and Brig. Gen. Vahur Karus, joined by University of Tartu alumni representatives.

An hour later, at 11.00 a.m., a gathering at Vanemuise 33 will see speeches made by high school pupils and candles placed at the bas-relief depicting Jaan Poska, (1866-1920).

Elsewhere in the country, Pärnu will also host a memorial ceremony at noon, at the Alevi cemetery where city council chair Andres Metsoja will deliver a speech. Representatives of the volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit), together with those of its women's (Naiskodukaitse), girls' (Kodutütred) and boys' (Noored kotkad) equivalents will also attend, as well as Estonian Defense Forces reservists, members of the Estonian flag society (Eesti lipu selts), and the Mihkel Lüdig mens' choir.

As a flag day, February 2 requires all state and local government entities to hoist the Estonian blue-black-white no later than 8.00 a.m., and to lower it at sunset (at 4.39 p.m. in Tallinn). Legal entities classified as such under public law are also required to do so, while members of the public are invited to do the same.

Other events going on in Tartu include a historical tour organized by the City Museum, followed by a presentation.

The Treaty of Tartu was signed on February 2, 1920, and concluded the War of Independence, which had raged since 1918, in Estonia's favor. Similar conflicts had taken place in Finland (whose corresponding treaty was also signed in Tartu, in October 1920), and in Latvia, all of which obtained their full independence from the fledgling Soviet Russian state – itself riven by civil war. The border set by the Treaty of Tartu lay somewhat to the east of the present-day delineation and included the Estonian towns of Jaanilinn, in the northeast, and Petseri in the southeast.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Government Office

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