President Kersti Kaljulaid paid a visit to the Russian Bellingshausen Station in Antarctica on Wednesday, part of celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the discovery of that continent.
The two countries have some common ground on the issue; Admiral Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen was a Baltic German from Saaremaa, and was serving in the Russian Imperial Navy when the first sighting of the Antarctic ice shelf was made, on January 27 1820 during a global circumnavigation expedition, the second that Bellingshausen had bee
In honor of the event, both the Estonian and Russian flags flew side by side on the masthead at the research station, which was founded in the late 1960s during the Soviet era.
The station is located on King George Island; the president has been staying in the vicinity, aboard the Estonian vessel that shares the Bellingshausen name and which set sail for the continent from Estonia last summer, since early last week.
“The discovery made 200 years ago has been important to all humanity, and a model we should continue to follow in promoting international cooperation and multi-lateralism today,” the president wrote on her social media account.
“One good example of such cooperation and its effectiveness science and the environment findings we can take from Antarctica. For example, we have solved the ozone hole problem, which required rapid, determined action, and more than just international cooperation.”
“Today, however, we can see here clear signs of melting glaciers, something everyone can easily understand. No matter where we have come from and what country we represent, we all have the power to do something and work together for the future.”
Multiple geographical features and locations in the Antarctic, named in honor of Bellingshausen, commemorate his role in the exploration of the southern polar region.