February 16, 2018

Centenary of the Republic of Estonia


The 100th anniversary of the Estonian Republic gives us reason to meditate on our journey and cast our eyes to the future.

The 100th anniversary of the Estonian Republic gives us reason to meditate on our journey and cast our eyes to the future.

Diplomaatia wants to make its modest contribution to this discussion on this occasion. Professor Rein Taagepera compares Estonia’s fate over the past century with that of Latvia and Lithuania. “They look so similar that, when I type “Baltic states” (with lower-case “s”), my spellchecker erroneously changes it to “Baltic States” (upper-case “S”), as if they were a federal state like the US,” writes Taagepera. “This illustrates how similar their broad historical features are, from the outside—and it’s much the same from the inside.”
Political scientist Maria Mälksoo and historian Kaarel Piirimäe explore the history of Estonian independence in the global context.
Professor Eero Medijainen writes that US President Woodrow Wilson’s principle of national self-determination wasn’t supposed to apply to the Baltic states. “Wilson never used the term ‘national self-determination’ in his speeches or writing. He spoke about the right of the people to choose through democratic means a form of government suitable for them,” he says.
Historian Magnus Ilmjärv looks at Estonia’s choices in the fatal years of 1939–40. “The Baltic states therefore lost their independence silently and completely as a result of a long process, not an inescapable situation—an enforced move flowing from the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact,” states Ilmjärv.
Diplomaatia’s interview with Russian political scientist Aleksandr Sytin focuses on Estonian-Russian relations over the past 100 years.
Kristi Raik, Rector of the Estonian Academy of Security Sciences, offers her vision of Narva and the local Russians in the next 100 years. “One thing is for certain—even 100 years from now it will be 210 kilometres to Tallinn and 140 kilometres to St Petersburg from the border of Estonia, the gateway to European culture,” she says.
Heido Vitsur, Economic Adviser to the President of Estonia, considers the development of the Estonian economy over the past 100 years.
Hellar Lill, Director of the Estonian War Museum, writes about the development of the Estonian Defence Forces. “After the Estonian Declaration of Independence on 24 February 1918, these national units were called the Estonian Army,” he recalls.
Diplomaatia’s Editor-in-Chief, Erkki Bahovski, explores the main turning points in Estonian diplomacy during the past century. “Looking back over these 100 years, we can see that Estonian diplomacy must concentrate on ensuring our independence. It has to be dynamic,” he writes.
Diplomaatia also publishes congratulatory messages from the former heads of state of several neighbouring countries.


This article was published in ICDS Diplomaatia magazine.

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