Speaking at St. Michael's Church in Mihkli village in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the uniting of the territories inhabited by Estonians into a single territory, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas noted that this important step led to the creation of the Estonia that we know today.
"The united autonomous national governorate was a big step and clear requirement on the sacred journey to our people's independence," said Ratas according to a government press release. "The founding of the Republic of Estonia would have been inconceivable without our sense of unity. The national identity could not be limited to only linguistic unity."
He noted that the local people who had become Estonians needed a spatial sense of belonging too, as well as a common social sphere of meanings, including common traditions, customs, a common mentality and common landscape markers surrounded by stories. "This territorial 'us' — established alongside the culturo-linguistic 'us' — meant the birth of the Estonian state and its people's common home."
The prime minister stated that the unity ensured by the state was not an insurance policy against the possible development of lines of divisin within the state itself. "By festively celebrating today's historic event, we are also admitting that in Livonia-Estonia — which was relatively more autonomous and at one time wealthier than North-Estonia — there are several counties fighting against self-marginalization," he said, adding that the truth of the matter was that Estonia is tilted toward Tallinn and Harju County.
"I would like to say that marking the 100th anniversary of the Estonian state does not absolve us from the obligation to re-establish a common state every day so that old and new county and municipality borders do not cleave us internally, but instead our cooperation can be preserved along with the knowledge that it is the same Estonia that exists in Lääne County as in Võru County, Viru County and Pärnu County — and, of course, here in Mihkli village."
An ecumenical service and concert were held at the Mihkli church on Wednesday afternoon which included speeches by Ratas, Archbishop of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) Urmas Viilma and perfomances of works by Estonian composers by the Estonian National Male Choir (RAM), choirs from Lihula as well as local youth. Prior to the service, the prime minister laid a wreath at the foot of the War of Independence Monument in Koonga cemetery.
Editor: Aili Vahtla