Eesti keeles
In english
News »

Ratas: The spirit of unity has always helped Estonians to overcome fear with dignity


St. John’s Church in St. Petersburg, 8 April 2017 - Prime Minister Jüri Ratas took part in the Estonia 100 celebrations in St. John’s Church in St. Petersburg and held a speech. Ratas emphasised that Estonians should never again go to another country’s capital to demand  freedom, and march for the right of self-determination.

“Understandably I would have wanted to start my speech with elated words appropriate for today’s historic event celebrated here,” Prime Minister Ratas said. “Unfortunately, the explosion in St. Petersburg’s metro and the attack in Stockholm yesterday force us once more to think about the nature of violence. There are still people in the world who want to conquer the minds of innocent people with fear and terror, and force their will upon them,” said the Prime Minister.

“The horrific deeds conducted nearby on Monday are the total opposite of what our ancestors were doing here a hundred years ago. The peaceful demonstration of nearly 40,000 Estonians that took place a century ago by its nature is very similar to the marches of our Song Festivals. Mass gatherings of Estonians have been a sign of self-assertion for Estonians throughout times. Atrocities need to be answered with enlightenment and moral superiority indeed.”

Prime Minister Ratas emphasised that despite the uncertain situation in the world and continuous conflict in Europe, our independence is better protected than ever before. “Estonians should never go to another country’s capital to demand freedom and march for the right of self-determination. I hope that all our marches, manifestations, and mass gatherings are carried by the knowledge that we have navigated through our history alive and we deserve the freedom we have won.”

A religious service to give thanks and a concert, to celebrate the passing of 100 years from the Estonians’ demonstration in support of Estonia’s autonomy took place at St. John’s Church in St. Petersburg. The Prime Minister also unveiled a memorial plaqueat at the church to honour the demonstration held a 100 years ago. The events are part of Estonia 100 celebrations.

8 April 2017 marks the passing of a hundred years from the day on which 40,000 Estonians gathered in Petrograd to take part in a demonstration that demanded self-governing autonomy for Estonia. Estonians started the demonstration at the St. John’s Church and headed towards the Tauride Palace, which housed the Russian Provisional Government. Four days after the demonstration, on 12.04.1917, the Russian Provisional Government issued an order on the autonomy of Estonia. According to the order, the northern part of the Governorate of Livonia was united with the Governorate of Estonia. The Autonomous Governorate of Estonia was born.

Photos (Ave Tampere,


© Estonian Embassy in Moscow 5 Maly Kislovsky Pereulok, 125009 Moscow tel. (7 495) 737 36 40, e-mail: