The speech of Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on Victory Day, 23 June 2021

25.06.2021 | 12:51

Honourable President of the Riigikogu,

Minister of Defence Mr Laanet,

Commander of the Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Herem,

Commander of the National Defence League, Brigadier General Ühtegi,
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Dear people of Estonia!

Today, a 103-year-old-Estonia celebrates Victory Day. A Victory Day that was established during the first years of our republic as a “memorial day for all the combats and victories of Estonian people throughout history”.

Although Estonia is 103 years of age, we fought the Battle of Võnnu 102 years ago and the Estonian War of Independence formally ended 101 years ago. Victory Day does not only serve as a memorial day for all our combats and victories throughout history; it also serves as a reminder that one way or another, we must continue the struggle for freedom also in an independent state.

Therefore, Victory Day is not only a celebration of the victory in the Battle of Võnnu. It is a reminder that an independent and free Estonian state is not a gift – it is the fruit of our common consistent and persevering labour.

As a nation, we know what loss of freedom means. I was also born in an Estonian state where life was led by foreign rules and restrictions. This year marks the passing of 30 years from the restoration of independence. During this period, new generations have grown up in a free Estonia who see independence as something natural and self-evident.

If we want this freedom to be just as natural and self-evident for the coming generations, we must make an effort. The world around us is restless and anxious; new dangers – cyber and hybrid threats – arose to stand next to the familiar ones some time ago. The maintenance of security is like riding a bicycle – you must continue pedalling to maintain balance and continue moving. Once you stop, you fall.

We must continue the creation and maintenance of our national security in a similar manner. Our security is based on a broad concept of national defence, emergency preparedness, and close ally relationships as well as on a strong economy and a smart and mutually respectful society. It is the mutual respect and a willingness to stay dignified even when discussing difficult subjects that unites us. It is harder to divide – and therefore easier to defend – a nation with a strong sense of unity. Let us not lose our will to stick together!

Dear people of Estonia!

We will succeed in the maintenance and development of life in Estonia if we cooperate. Cooperation is based on the will to work for a common cause and on respect towards one’s fellows and co-fighters as well as the end goal. A free and protected Estonia is our ultimate common goal.

I wish you all a wonderful Victory Day and Midsummer’s Day!

Valitsuse kommunikatsioonibüroo