Iryna Kurolenko, Second Secretary of the Ukrainian Embassy in the Republic of Estonia
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A year ago, an old humble cottage in a picturesque corner of Tartu, the Estonia's university capital, was decorated with a memorial plaque with inscription made in Ukrainian and Estonian. It states that at exactly this location the first Ukrainian national cultural association on the territory of Estonia-the Ukrainian student society of the Tartu University had been found in 1898. It was to this date that the history of Ukrainian organizations of Estonia is traced to evidence the close link Ukrainians and Estonians, in some measure making plain the roots of truly friendly relations and mutual affection. Evidently, no small share of this had the human factor, the kindly feelings towards representatives of this or other nation, the ability to coexist peacefully on the same territory in deep respect of the laws, moral and private life norms of the country that became one's second home. It is challenging to examine the place of the Ukrainian diaspora in Estonia just in this context. That is, to analyze what the Ukrainians of this Baltic country succeeded in achieving during the twelve years elapsed after the Republic of Estonia recovered its independence, what place they occupy within the Estonian socium, and how much they appreciate themselves as its integral part.
It is worth recalling that despite considerable distance separating Ukraine from Estonia, the Ukrainians discovered the land for themselves many centuries back. By leaving out the period of Kyivite Rus, when warriors of Yaroslav the Wise had founded a fortress at a place to become later the city of Tartu (which was renamed to Yuriyev denoting Yaroslav's Christian name during the times of russification), let us
turn to the 19th century. At the Tartu University, restored in 1809, quite a few Ukrainians studied with their number growing rapidly when alumni of theological seminaries were allowed in since 18 ... Read more