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At the opening of the renovated Estonian Embassy in Moscow

At the opening of the renovated Estonian Embassy in Moscow © Vabariigi Presidendi Kantselei

18.04.2019

Welcome everybody to the freshly renovated Estonian Embassy—what a beautiful building it is!

Dear guests,

Estonian Embassy has been here on Malõi Kislovski street since 1921. It is the oldest embassy of the Estonian Republic. Being by the way the first European diplomatic mission in Bolshevik Russia and its new capital.

Our diplomatic relations with our neighbour were established a year earlier, so in 10 months’ time we can celebrate the centenary of diplomatic relations with Russia. We should congratulate ourselves on this.

What makes our Embassy here in the heart of Moscow special, is the fact that it is our first diplomatic mission. It is natural that your first diplomatic mission goes to your neighbour

History has given the former mansion of a book merchant that became a diplomatic mission of a newly independent country many faces. 

Even though history has not been gentle towards this mission, as it slipped from the possession of free Estonia during World War Two, it has always been in the hands of Estonians and been our representation. Just our blue-black-white flag disappeared from the flag pole, as well as three lions from our coat of arm.  The paint peeled off, the hope remained.

New winds brought new additions to the Kalashnõi street where our biggest consular section is located and where our good neighbours  are Dutch and Japanese.

But this building is not just a diplomatic outpost. It is also a home to our diplomats and administrative personnel and their children. I would like to use this opportunity to thank you all for your hard work in representing Estonia in Russia both in the field of politics but also culture. The latter being an area that has been kept the relationship going when times have been difficult.

And of course, my thank you also goes to the consular section –I know it is not easy work, especially ahead of big and long public holidays like New Year’s Eve and Orthodox Christmas.

Russian tourists make up  a big bulk of tourists visiting Estonia each year. If I am not mistaken then only Finns are ahead of them, at least in numbers.

Estonian Embassy in Moscow is geographically one of the closest to the Kremlin. As you know then this has not always translated to our bilateral relations. I will not go into politics, there is time later in the day for that, but would just like to say that perhaps the opening of the renovated Embassy will enable to give new breathing to our bilateral relations. My presence here today is a clear sign that Estonia is ready to interact and have dialogue with its neighbour.

We might not witness big visible shifts in a day, in  a year, but I know that every day, week and year, behind these walls, people work to represent the interests of Europe, the interests of Estonia, political and economic, and Estonians—all one million of us, who wish to have good relations with our neighbour. In difficult times and in good times. Times do not change by themselves. It is people who change the times.

 Thank you for being with us here today. I would also like to thank all the construction companies, all the local workers who did all this good work. Thank you!