kolmapäev, veebruar 24, 2010


To All The Peoples of Estonia

Never in the course of centuries have the Estonian people lost their ardent desire for Independence. From generation to generation Estonians have kept alive the secret hope that in spite of enslavement and oppression by other nations the time will come in Estonia "when all splinters, at both end, will burst forth into flames" and when "Kalev will come home to bring his children happiness."

Now this time has arrived.

An unprecedented struggle of nations has destroyed the rotten foundations of the Russian Tsarist Empire. All over the Sarmatian plains ruinous anarchy is spreading, threatening to overwhelm in its wake all peoples living within the borders of the former Russian Empire. From the West the victorious armies of Germany are approaching in order to claim their share of Russia's legacy and, above all, to take possession of the coastal territories of the Baltic Sea.

In this fateful hour the Estonian National Council, as the legal representative of our land and people, has, in unanimous agreement with Estonian democratic political parties and organizations, and by virtue of the right of self-determination of peoples, found it necessary to take the following decisive steps to shape the destiny of Estonian land and people.


within her historical and ethnic boundaries, is declared as of today an


The independent Republic of Estonia shall include Harjumaa, Läänemaa, Järvamaa, Virumaa, with the city of Narva and its surroundings, Tartumaa, Võrumaa, Viljandimaa, and Pärnumaa with the Baltic islands of Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, Muhumaa, and others where the Estonians have settled for ages in large majorities. Final determination of the boundaries of the Republic in the areas bordering on Latvia and Russia will be carried out by plebiscite after the conclusion of the present World War.

In the aforementioned areas the only supreme and organizing authority is the democratically supported Estonian Salvation Committee created by the Estonian National Council.

The Republic of Estonia wishes to maintain absolute political neutrality towards all neighbouring states and peoples and expects that they will equally respond with complete neutrality.

Estonian military forces shall be reduced to the extent necessary to maintain internal order. Estonian soldiers serving in the Russian military forces will be called home and demobilized.

Until the Estonian Constituent Assembly, elected by general, direct, secret, and proportional elections, will convene and determine the constitutional structure of the country, all executive and legislative authority will remain vested in the Estonian National Council and in the Estonian Provisional Government created by it, whose activities must be guided by the following principles:

1. All citizens of the Republic of Estonia, irrespective of their religion, ethnic origin, and political views, shall enjoy equal protection under the law and courts of justice of the Republic.

2. All ethnic minorities, the Russians, Germans, Swedes, Jews, and others residing within the borders of the republic, shall be guaranteed the right to their cultural autonomy.

3. All civic freedoms, such at the freedom of expression, of the press, of religion, of assembly, of association, and the freedom to strike as well as the inviolability of the individual and the home, shall be irrefutably effective within the territory of the Estonian Republic and based on laws which the Government shall immediately work out.

4. The Provisional Government will be charged with the immediate organization of the courts of justice to protect the security of the citizens. All political prisoners shall be released immediately.

5. The city, county, and township local governments will be called upon to continue their work, which has been violently interrupted.

6. For maintenance of public order, people's militia, subordinated to local governments, shall be immediately organized and citizens' self-defence organizations established in the cities and rural areas.

7. The Provisional Government in instructed to work out without delay, on a broad democratic basis, bills for the solution of the agrarian problem, and the problems of labor, of food supply, and of finances.

E s t o n i a ! You stand on the threshold of a hopeful future in which you shall be free and independent in determining and directing your destiny. Begin building a home of your own, ruled by law and order in order to be a worthy member within the family of civilized nations. Sons and daughters of our homeland, let us unite as one man in the sacred task of building our homeland. The sweat and blood shed by our ancestors for this country oblige us to do it, and we must do it for the sake of our future generations.

May God watch over Thee
And amply bless
Whatever thou undertake
My dear homeland!

Long live the independent democratic Republic of Estonia!

Long live peace among nations!

The Council of Elders
Estonian National Council
February 24, 1918

24 kommentaari:

Giustino ütles ...

Maybe it should be consulted on occasion for guidance.

Justin ütles ...

Interesting reading. I wonder why they didn't mention the Estonian language in the document -- it is mentioned in the constitution.

klx ütles ...

maybe not necessary in those days, since the russian language hadn't yet been imposed for half a century.

Giustino ütles ...

They felt they needed the support of the minorities for the establishment of the state, so they made clear to put the cultural autonomy up high. Note the use of "peoples" of Estonia, not "people" of Estonia. From what I recall, the official language was decided later. There was also a question if German might be an official language. But Estonian as state language was set already in 1920.

Giustino ütles ...

Now here's something really interesting. I am in Finland, and the radio news was discussing a protest outside the Vanemuine led by Tiit Madisson. It doesn't even seem to be a story on Postimees. What's up with that?????

Rainer ütles ...


Kristopher ütles ...

Ah, when is Tiit Madisson NOT protesting something? Besides, how did he find money to travel to Tartu from Pärnu -- in the middle of a recession? (Everyone knows how long that takes.)

The Manifesto has a real LOTR feeling to it. Rise, O people of Gondor!

k ütles ...

I too kinda wish this protest had got more media coverage. I guess the reason it didn't is indeed, as Kristopher alludes, the image of the people involved in the public eye. Professional revolutionaries, borderline nazis, losers..

On a slightly related question, does anyone have any idea why it is that Inno & Irja haven't been sued a thousand times by now? It's quite incredible the stuff they post about people. And they have a significant following (comparable in size to Giustino's), so it's not just a couple of lonely nutters posting s*** that nobody cares about..

Maybe it should be consulted on occasion for guidance.

I think it should, too. It is after all a very fundamental document. And perhaps the wisest of them all...

k ütles ...

And perhaps the wisest of them all...

No, having read it again, I take that back. :) I guess the thing I like about is the attitude toward minorities. I think we have now gone a little too far in "integrating" them, especially in what comes to secondary education.

Bäckman ütles ...

Why haven't Inno and Irja been sued yet? Because Inno and Irja are, in fact, homosexuals working for a large Nordic press syndicate.

Mari ütles ...

love the translation

k ütles ...

Why haven't Inno and Irja been sued yet? Because Inno and Irja are, in fact, homosexuals working for a large Nordic press syndicate.

Yeah.. I guess that's an appropriate answer to what I should have formed as a rhetorical question, but didn't.

Justin ütles ...

I actually walked through the protest yesterday. I'd say about 40-50 people were gathered around. Some signs were against the Euro currency, while others were against joining the EU (a bit late on that one I suppose).

Giustino ütles ...

The Manifesto has a real LOTR feeling to it. Rise, O people of Gondor!

The part about the Sarmatian plain gets me every time.

Unknown ütles ...

Thanks for this - the preamble is superb and those first three clauses are staggeringly sensible.
The people who drafted the Lisbon Treaty should have been made to read this as a lesson in being concise and precise.

viimneliivlane ütles ...

If you indeed translated the Manifesto it is an excellent job.

Russification was in process for decades before 1918 and I gather there were people who actually thought it was a viable antidote to the germanization that had been going on for centuries.

That sentiment seems to be alive today in some ways. As with the language, the evetual realization had to be that you can't go with either East or West or both, and you have no choice but to go with your own.

Tiit Madisson has never been a person of depth, though he seems to be well-funded enough to make trips to Greece. An aging teenage protestor doing well / is this a great country or what!

Unknown ütles ...

The translation originates from here:


Unknown ütles ...

Also, here is the original, which was spread in large numbers in 1918 if I remember correctly.

Kristopher ütles ...

During usuõpetus in Estonian school in Baltimore, I used to daydream about finding the original Manifesto in a desk drawer in one of the Estonian House's hidden annexes.

Troels-Peter ütles ...

I love that declaration. It's so full of hope and promise although it was formulated in a critical situation.

It's interesting how it both points to urgent day-to-day matters for the provisional government and great ideals for mankind.

When I read it, it makes me think of early spring, breaking ice, thaw and the first larks singing. Oh dear, I'm becoming poetic.

Somtimes I actually envy countries that declared independence within historical times...

LPR ütles ...

Ah, the Estonian House in Baltimore! Kids get dropped and picked up like a commandoes in a war zone. How many tours did you have to make there?

Kristopher ütles ...

30 or so a year, probably. Did leave the Green Zone a couple times to get fried chicken a couple times at Church's. Since most of the windows in the neighbourhood were boarded up, figured wouldn't get shot at.

viimneliivlane ütles ...

Ah, the Baltimore Estonian House - written up in Krister Kivi´s book Eesti Maja - a good read about how the spirit of the Manifesto is held up in the diaspora.

Frank ütles ...

"The sweat and blood shed by our ancestors for this country oblige us to do it"