Estonia Independence Day – celebrating the country’s 1918 emancipation from the Russian empire – takes place on 24 February each year. This year, Independence Day for the Estonians was horribly ironic. ‘Instead of opening the news in the morning and seeing the expected 'Happy Independence Day Everyone!'’ Lidia, a language-specialist, told me, ‘the headline was 'Russia has invaded Ukraine'.’ How do you celebrate independence from Russia while reading about the Russian invasion of an independent near-neighbour?’
One result of this, Lidia said, was a ‘deep connection to Ukraine (developing) overnight, something that couldn’t have existed before’.
This seems to be true at all levels. Unlike in many other post-Soviet countries – Georgia, for example, whose rulers have, to much popular outrage, dragged their feet – Estonia’s government has led the way here.