Major events celebrating the Estonian centennial continued in Haapsalu on Tuesday, where the town's new flag square was opened and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center), Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps (Center) and Minister of Culture Indrek Saar (SDE) presented national awards in research, culture and sports.
"Let us celebrate the significant events and important moments of our journey toward freedom together," Ratas said in his speech at the open-air assembly in Haapsalu's Castle Square according to a government press release. "Every one of those moments was necessary. Today, we commemorate the men and women thanks to whom these brief moments became a time of breakthroughs."
The prime minister reminded listeners that a century ago, the air was thick with uncertainty and that Estonians' forefathers likely never dared dream that in 2018, their descendants could happily and proudly stand in Haapsalu, Tallinn, Mustla, Viljandi, Narva or anywhere else in an independent Estonia, enjoying the very same independent existence that was established back then.
"Today, here and now, we can be happy, as the Republic of Estonia is confident and cared for on the eve of its great jubilee," he added.
"We are able to build a home of our own, ruled by law and order, and be a worthy member within the family of civilizations," Ratas emphasized. "This is proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence, which was approved one hundred years ago tomorrow. We can be proud Estonians in our society and in the entire world."
The prime minister's speech was followed by a historical overview delivered by Heiki Magnus, representative of the Estonian Defence League, and speeches by Haapsalu City Council Chairman Jaanus Karilaid and Leevi Reinaru of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK). The prime minister also placed a wreath by the War of Independence Monument.
National awards presented
At a reception held at Läänemaa High School later that afternoon, Ratas, Reps and Saar presented annual awards for research, culture and sports for 2017 as well as the Ferdinand Johann Wiedemann Language Prize.
"We have clearly brought Jakob Hurt's ideology to life," Ratas said, referring to the Estonian folklorist, theologian and linguist from the 19th century. "We as a small nation have become great in spirit, and it has only been possible thanks to education. Education, art, culture and innovation are prerequisites for development and security for the future."
According to the prime minister, each great accomplishment begins with the first step, making it important to inspire future generations in addition to day-to-day work and dedication to one's field. He said that the future of Estonia's research, art, professional sports and entire culture as a whole is as bright as the minds of the country's most outstanding young people.
"Intellectual wealth is one of the most important indicators of a people's viability and must be consistently taken care of — this is the only way to ensure that Estonians persist," Ratas said, emphasizing that the state must find ways to acknowledge everyone who inspires young people, perpetuates that inspiration and helps generate new accomplishments as a result. Only then can the country look ahead toward its next jubilee.
2018 award winners
National Research Awards
Mall Hiiemäe, effective long-term research and development work
Agu Laisk, effective long-term research and development work
Ahto Buldas, Outstanding Discovery Award
Ülle Kotta, in exact sciences for her cycle of research works "Algebraic Methods in Mathematical Control Theory"
Tanel Tenson (leader of the collective), Vasili Hauryliuk, Arvi Jõers, Niilo Kaldalu, Karin Kogermann, Ülo Maiväli, Marta Putrinš, in chemistry and molecular biology for the cycle "Mechanisms of antibiotic action and antibiotic resistance"
Joel Starkopf, Annika Reintam Blaser, in medical science for the research and development work "Intraabdominal hypertension and gastrointestinal failure in intensive care patients"
Ülo Niinemets, in geology and biology for the cycle "Integration and adaptation mechanisms of plant photosynthesis: from foliage gradients to global patterns"
Rein Drenkhan, in agricultural science for his research paper "Early identification of invasive dendropathogens and distribution analysis"
Ringa Raudla, in social sciences for the cycle "Public finance developments and challenges during and after crises in Estonia and in Europe"
Martin Ehala, in humanities for his research paper "Development of the sign theory of identity based on studies of the Estonian linguistic environment"
Ferdinand Johann Wiedemann Language Prize
Reet Kasik, for the development of text analysis as well as educating and encouraging young linguists
National Culture Awards
Aino Pervik (Raud), Lifetime Achievement Award
Anu Raud, Lifetime Achievement Award
Merle Karusoo, Lifetime Achievement Award
Märt-Matis Lill, for the opera "Into the Fire"
Jüri Okas, for the exhibition "Jüri Okas," as well as in recognition of his continued excellent form
Kris Lemsalu, for her performances at the Performa17 art biennial in New York, the David Roberts Art Foundation's 10th anniversary events in London, and her exhibition activities in 2017
Guido Kangur, for his roles in the productions "Three Winters," "Ivanov," and "After the Rehearsal"
Mart Kangur, for his poetry collection "Liivini lahti" and translation of "Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia" by French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari
National Sports Awards
Ivar Stukolkin, Lifetime Achievement Award
Tõnu Pääsuke, Lifetime Achievement Award
Heiki Nabi, wrestler, silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2017 World Championships in the under 130 kg weight category
Nikolai Novosjolov, fencer, silver medalist at the 2017 World Championships, bronze medalist at the European Championships, third place in the World Cup series
Irina Embrich, Julia Beljajeva, Erika Kirpu and Kristina Kuusk, gold medalists at the 2017 World Fencing Championships
Ott Tänak and Martin Järveoja
Mario and Risto Kalmre, founders and main organizers of Simple Session, one of the world's most famous extreme sports events for top skateboarders and BMX riders
Editor: Aili Vahtla