The Russian-speaking population of Estonia is marking today the 80th anniversary of the creation in the country of the Union of Slav and Charitable Societies. It was set up on February 22, 1923 with a view to preserving and protecting the Russian language, culture and education in the Estonian Republic.
After Estonia's joining the USSR in 1940, the Union was dissolved and was restored in 1992 on the basis of the restitution law adopted in the republic, the organization's head Nikolai Solovei told RIA Novosti.
One of the main directions of the Union's activity is the organization of Slav song and dance festivals. Six such festivals, called "The Slav Wreath", have been held since 1992. Such festivals are held nowhere in post-Soviet republics. The next festival is due in 2005. Apart from Estonian song and dance companies, companies from Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine and Finland have expressed their desire to take part in the festival.
The jubilee will be marked on an international scale. Official delegations from Moscow and the Russian regions neighboring on Estonia, and representatives of Russian artistic organizations from Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, Finland and Sweden have arrived in Estonia to take part in the celebration.