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Estonia's Ambassador to Russia Arti Hilpus visited Tomsk May 24-27


Estonian Ambassador to Russia Arti Hilpus visited Tomsk May 24-27

Estonia’s Ambassador to Russia Arti Hilpus visited Tomsk oblast with a delegation on May 24-27 to discuss possibilities for cooperation with Estonia in the areas of education and culture, and to visit Estonian settlements: Kaseküla (Berjozka) and Liliengofka. Members of the delegation included diplomats from the embassy, as well as University of Tartu archival science professor and Riigikogu member Aadu Must, Estonian Business School Vice Rector for Research and Development Professor Olav Aarna and Estonian Literary Museum's senior researcher and folklorist Anu Korb.

When meeting with the delegation, the governor of Tomsk Oblast, Sergei Zhvachkin expressed interest in Estonia's experience in the conservation of architectural monuments and the development of e-government. They also discussed possibilities for cooperation in the fields of education and science, and the Estonian communities in Siberia.

Tomsk State University and Tomsk Polytechnic University, considered to be among Russia's top universities, want to develop and expand existing connections with Estonian universities. The ambassador for his part, stressed, that in the current era, it is particularly important to enhance communication between academics and students. “Estonian universities could be useful partners for Tomsk universities, and there are a number of areas where mutual interest exists and there is an opportunity for cooperation,” the Ambassador added.

During the visit, Prof. Aadu Must and researcher of Siberian Estonian Anu Korb had the opportunity to present their research work via lectures at Tomsk State University. During the delegation’s visit to the Tomsk State Archives, the local staff along with Professor Must introduced archival materials related to Estonians who emigrated to Tomsk.

The delegation visited the Pervomaisk district to visit local Estonian settlements and get acquainted with the everyday life of the local communities. The residents of Kaseküla and Liliengofka had a cultural programme prepared, they introduced the village museum, cultural centre and school, and the group visited the cemetery. The villagers were interested in issues related to visas and citizenship, and also about opportunities to learn the Estonian language and attend children's camps. There has been a noticeable drop in the number of people who speak Estonian in the villages, but there are still Estonian speakers and language enthusiasts. The ambassador promised to contribute to helping to maintain cultural and language contacts with Estonia. “For Estonia, it is important that Estonian communities in Russia have an interest and commitment to maintain their cultural roots,” Hilpus noted.

They also visited the Lutheran Maarja (St. Mary's) congregation in Tomsk, which is ready to host visitors and performers from Estonia in its new church building. Promoters of Estonian culture are also awaited at the Tomsk State University’s stately main hall. Folk dancers and choir members from the Kaseküla community centre would like to one day come to Estonia for the Song or Dance Celebration and they are also very much awaiting for Estonian ensembles to visit them. The Ambassador expressed hope that the year 2018, when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, will offer more opportunities for such projects.

The visit ended with a trip to the Tomsk NKVD museum to see the exposition dedicated to the victims of Stalinist repression. There is a memorial park opposite the museum located in the heart of the city centre, where since 2008 there stands a memorial stone dedicated to Estonians who lost their lives during the political repressions – there were over a thousand such victims in Tomsk oblast. The Ambassador laid a wreath at the memorial stone. The ceremony was attended by Estonian writer Vadim Makšejev, who was deported as a schoolboy in 1941. He holds the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, IV Class and his autobiographical books have been translated into Estonian.



Additional information:

Regina Palandi-Paju

Estonian Embassy in Moscow

Second Secretary, Press Affairs

tel: +7 495 737 36 40

mob: +7 916 135 62 64




(+372) 637 7618

(+372) 504 6090


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