PICTURES: Estonia’s Victory Day celebrations

Estonia celebrated the country’s Victory Day on 23 June with a large military parade on the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds; smaller events took place across the country.

Victory Day, celebrated annually, marks the decisive battle in 1919 during the Estonian War of Independence in which the country’s military forces and their allies defeated the German forces who sought to re-assert control over the region. The day has been celebrated on 23 June every year from 1934 until 1939 and then again after the restoration of Estonian independence, from 1992.

Although it marks the important historical battle, the annual military parade also commemorates and recognises the contributions of all Estonians in their fight to regain and retain their independence.

Victory Day is celebrated all over the country, but the main parade usually rotates between towns – this year it took place in the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

Thousands of military troops participated, including approximately 1,500 members of the Estonian Defence League (Kaitseliit) that also celebrated 100 years since its formation.

In a nod to history, the Estonian Defence Forces rolled out a working mock-up of an armoured car used during the Estonian War of Independence. Out in the sea, two out of the four ships in the Estonian Navy, one of the smallest navies in the world, were also joining the celebrating mood.

Alongside Estonian troops, soldiers from several allied countries – Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, the UK and the US – also participated, while six allied jets made a fly-past.

The Victory Day celebrations started at the Tori Church (Pärnu County).

A symbolic Victory torch is lit.

The members of the Estonian Defence League’s boys’ corps, Noored Kotkad, and the Estonian Defence League’s girls’ corps, Kodutütred, joining the celebration.

An Estonian Defence Forces’ vehicle entering the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.

The members of the Estonian Defence League’s boys’ corps, Noored Kotkad, and the Estonian Defence League’s girls’ corps, Kodutütred, steady and ready at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.

The members of the Estonian Defence League marching at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.

A view from the Song Festival stage.

The members of the Estonian Defence League taking their task very seriously…

…and even more seriously.

Female members of the Estonian Defence League’s girls’ corps, Kodutütred, ready to defend their country.

More and more women are joining the Estonian Defence Forces on these days.

In a nod to history, the Estonian Defence Forces rolled out a working mock-up of an armoured car used during the Estonian War of Independence.

The working mock-up of an armoured car used during the Estonian War of Independence could still enter into another battle, it seems.

The Danish-built Lindormen-class command and support vessel of the Estonian Navy, EML Wambola, joined the celebrations out in the sea.

The British-built Sandown-class minehunter of the Estonian Navy, EML Ugandi, also joined the celebrations.

The members of the Estonian Defence League celebrating their country’s freedom at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.

The members of the Estonian military and police forces participating in the Victory Day parade at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds on 23 June 2018.

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Cover: A working mock-up of an armoured car used during the Estonian War of Independence. Images courtesy of the Estonian Defence Forces.

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About the author: Estonian World

Estonian World is a global independent online magazine, founded in London in 2012 and headquartered in Tallinn, Estonia. The magazine has editorial representations in London, Chicago and Tallinn, and contributors all over the world, on every continent. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.