On December 6, H. E. Ms. Päivi Blinnikka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Finland to the Republic of Bulgaria, gave a reception on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the independence of the country.

In the elegant atmosphere of the Laura Restaurant at the National Palace of Culture, shining in Finnish blue and white lights, she welcomed her guests - ambassadors, cultural figures, journalists, Finns, friends.

Finland gained its independence at the end of 1917, when the so-called Independent Senate, headed by Pehr Evind Svinhufvud, puts forward a proposal to the parliament to declare the independence of the country and to give the new sovereign state the status of a republic. On 6 December, the MEPs voted the proposal. On December 31, the Lenin government officially recognized the new state, followed by France, Sweden, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Greece, Denmark and Norway, and a year and a half later, by the United States and the United Kingdom.

In her speech to the guests H. E. Ms. Päivi Blinnikka said "Finland is celebrating its 100th day of independence today. To appreciate this, many important places are illuminated today in Finnish colors, blue and white. You might have noticed the colors of NDK when entering? Tonight even the Colosseum in Rome, the Niagara Falls and a whole mountain in Finnish Lapland are blue and white.

For what reason do we celebrate the independence? Let me throw a short glance back to the history.

Before the bygone 100 years, Finland was never independent. First she was an integral part of Sweden for 700 years. But in 1809 Sweden lost Finland at war to Russia. As an autonomous part of Russia, Finland started to develop to become a real country. Finland got for example her own banknotes, which you have been able to see at the exhibition of the Lover´s Bridge in Sofia.

The willingness to become an independent country led to the declaration of independence in 1917 in the waves of the Russian revolution. The new status was first recognized by Russia and then by other states, Bulgaria amongst the first ones. In 1918, we will celebrate the centenary of Finland´s and Bulgaria´s diplomatic relations.   

Since 1917, Finland has gone through many kinds of times, good and bad. Today it is a modern Nordic and EU-country which, according to many international comparisons has made it really well. The hundred year old Finland is co-operating together with Bulgaria and other countries to make the world a better place.

Ladies and gentlemen, 

Let´s toast for the one hundred year old Finland!"

Prior to the start of the reception, a short ceremony took place: H. E. Ms. Päivi Blinnikka handed the order Knight of the Order of the Lion of Finland to Captain Nikifor Genchev for his selfless service in the team of the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Finland in Varna and Burgas. She expressed the thankfulness of the Finnish government for the long-standing help provided by Captain Genchev to the Finnish citizens residing on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.

The photos were provided by the Embassy of the Republic of Finland in the Republic of Bulgaria. Photographer: Emma Bardizbanyan

First row: H. E. Ms. Päivi Blinnikka, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Finland to the Republic of Bulgaria and Mrs. Riitta Mensonen, Second Secretary, welcome the guests

Second row: H. E. Ms. Päivi Blinnikka hands the order Knight of the Order of the Lion of Finland to Captain Nikifor Genchev; raising official toast for the 100th anniversary with Mr. Yury B. Sterk, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Finnish singer Emmi Kujanpää together with the folk ensemble "Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices" performed the hymns of both countries