On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty signed between the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and Estonia on February 2, 1920, President of the Republic of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid delivered a speech at the Vanemuine Concert Hall, expressing her attitude to the Treaty. In her view, the Tartu Peace Treaty "is and will always remain the birth certificate of the Estonian state".
How does the following fact fit into this statement? Estonia was granted independence on December 7, 1918 by a decree of RSFSR's All-Russian Central Executive Committee. At that time, Estonian territory was controlled by the Bolshevik-friendly Estonians. However, even after their defeat and the establishment of White movement-oriented Estonians in Estonia, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of the RSFSR failed to repeal the decree on the independence of Estonia and it remained in effect.
Another focus of Kaljulaid's statement was her over-the-top enthusiasm over the so-called Estonian Liberation War, which dates back to 1918-20. Who were the Estonians liberated from back then?
Kaljulaid actually recognizes the struggle of some Estonians against other Estonians differing in their ideological views as a liberation war. She emphasizes that the Estonian people's army defended Estonia in the tight situation of 1918, and then liberated the entire territory of Estonia.
Where did the Pskov lands mentioned in the Tartu Peace Treaty and claimed by the current Estonian politicians, come from? The fact is that Estonia took an active part in the Civil War, with the Estonians identifying themselves with the White movement. In particular, along with the Northern Corps and then with General Yudenich's Northwestern army, the Estonians twice besieged Petrograd and occupied most of the Pskov region. In the civilized world, this is referred to as intervention and interference in the internal affairs of a foreign state.
To this effect, on the part of the RSFSR government, the Tartu Peace Treaty of 1920 was aimed at curbing Estonia's engagement in the Civil War in the Russian territory.
Kaljulaid addressув the above facts in no manner, staying enthusiastic about the so-called Estonian Liberation War of 1918-20, aimed, as she puts it, at liberating Estonia from the enemy. "This objective was clear and ultimately acceptable to our allies." However, one shouldn't regard Estonia's treatment of its White movement allies after the Tartu Peace Treaty was signed as acceptable. Russian troops of General Yudenich's Northwestern army (soldiers and officers located in the Estonian territory) were interned, and most of them died of starvation and typhus, while their family members and peaceful refugees from Russia got no aid and died of cold and hunger. These facts should be instructive for the current and potential allies of the present-day Estonian elite.
Meanwhile, the Western countries, despite the Tartu Peace Treaty touted as the birth certificate of the Estonian state by Kaljulaid, were in no hurry to recognize the independence of Estonia, making the Estonians ask the Bolshevik government for duplicating the independence decree. The Bolsheviks were fine about it and granted Estonia independence once again in 1920.
This time it worked, setting the ball rolling for the process of Estonia's recognition by Western countries in 1921-22.
Once the current Estonian leadership is embarking on the path of Tartu Peace Treaty mythologization, the Russian side should reasonably supplement the agenda of bilateral relations with an investigation into all the circumstances of Estonia's military activities in the Russian territory at that time and a clarification of fates of the Russian military interned in the Estonian territory, as well as the perished peaceful refugees.