This Saturday will mark 25 years since the day when, under the July Treaties signed by Presidents Lennart Meri and Boris Yeltsin, Russian troops were withdrawn from Estonian territory. Just like 25 years ago, the anniversary of the occasion will be celebrated with a fireworks display at the Governor's Garden in Tallinn on Saturday night.
"The July Treaties, signed on July 26, 1994, which set Aug. 31, 1994 as the deadline for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Estonian soil, was the first important cooperative achievement with Western allies following the restoration of independence," Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said in a statement released by the ministry on Thursday.
The negotiations, however, were also a major test for Estonia, he continued.
"The fact that the withdrawal of troops happened as early as in 1994 was a notable diplomatic achievement, made possible by our high officials and diplomats, and their networks of contacts in Western countries," the minister said, highlighting the fact that several international organizations and Western countries helped put pressure on the Russian Federation to reach an agreement on the withdrawal of troops.
A reception will be held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday, Aug. 30 at 5 p.m., where Reinsalu will greet the diplomatic corps, high officials and those who hold Estonia's fight for freedom in living memory. Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Isamaa) will also give an English-language lecture to mark the occasion, which will be livestreamed on the ministry's Facebook page.
The fireworks display at the Governor's Garden will begin at 9:10 p.m. on Saturday.
Click here for more background information regarding the withdrawal of Russian troops from Estonia in 1994.
Editor: Aili Vahtla