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Fallen from the War of Independence were remembered in Tallinn

3. January 2023 - 15:16
Fallen from the War of Independence were remembered in Tallinn
Fallen from the War of Independence were remembered in Tallinn

Ceremonies in remembrance of those who fell during the War of Independence were held today on Freedom Square, in Tallinn, and on Peter’s Square, in Narva. The 103rd anniversary of the ceasefire between the Republic of Estonia and Soviet Russia was also marked.

At the ceremony, Minister of Defence Hanno Pevkur laid a wreath at the foot of the War of Independence Victory Column “on behalf of the Estonian people”.

The Minister of Defence noted that the loss of 6000 people was a high price to pay for a small nation. It is our duty to remember with dignity and to be grateful to all those who, at the cost of their lives, brought freedom and the right to self-determination to a nation of just one million”, said Pevkur in his speech.

“Today, the people of Ukraine are waging their own War of Independence against the forces of darkness. It is far from quiet on the front. Bombs fall on towns and villages; one avalanche of attacks after another. The Ukrainians have shown unprecedented courage and proved that they can act in an organised and effective way against a force that is many times more powerful. What happened on the fronts of the Estonian War of Independence in 1918 and 1919 is very similar to what is happening in Ukraine today, but sadly on a much larger scale there,” stated Pevkur.

The Minister of Defence added that the War of Independence taught us that it is important for a small nation and country to have friends and allies. “We must not be left alone. But this also means that we must never leave our friends and allies alone.  Estonia is, and will continue to be, an ally that can be counted on, and not just in words,” stated Pevkur.

“Estonia is free and protected. For this, we owe a debt of gratitude to those who won the War of Independence. Now it is our turn to preserve and defend Estonia’s freedom! Let us preserve Estonia!” said Pevkur in conclusion.

An armistice was signed with Soviet Russia on 31 December 1919. The armistice agreement provided for the cessation of hostilities on the fronts between Estonia and Soviet Russia on 3 January 1920 at 10:30. On 2 February 1920, a peace treaty was signed in Tartu, with the War of Independence having ended in victory for Estonia.

A tradition began in the 1920s of holding a minute of silence at 10.30 on 3 January of each year, at the moment when the ceasefire entered into force, in order to honour those Estonians and foreigners who fought in the War of Independence and gave their lives for Estonia’s freedom.

In addition to soldiers from allied forces and volunteers, approximately 75,000 combatants took part in the War of Independence on the Estonian side. A total of 6000 of these combatants were killed.


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