The Estonian Embassy in Russia is situated in the historical centre of Moscow, very close to the Kremlin, Arbat Square and Conservatoire, in quiet Maly Kislovsky Pereulok. From the very beginning, the Estonian diplomatic representation in Moscow has been working in the same house. The building is an early art nouveau-style town mansion, built in 1903 by architect A. Shcheglov. In the luxurious interior the elements of eclecticism and early art nouveau can be seen: lofty-ceilingc decorated with stucco, chandeliers and marble fireplaces.
The historical parts of the city of Moscow consist mostly of the real estates of the wealthy citizens, built in the 18th and 19th centuries. The common practice in Moscow was to expropriate the real estates from the previous owners and to remise them to the foreign missions when the diplomatic corps moved from Petrograd to Moscow. Thus, the town mansion was vested in the Estonian authorities. Today, all these quarters are densely settled with the diplomatic missions – the Embassies of Japan and the Netherlands are in the direct neighbourhood of the Estonian Embassy.
Although the diplomatic relations between Estonia and Russia were established in February 1920, the Republic of Estonia nominated its first Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary only a year later, in February 1921. The Embassy of the Republic of Estonia in Moscow was one of the first diplomatic missions in the Bolshevik Russia and in its new capital. The Allies of Russia in the World War I had ruptured the diplomatic relations with the capital of Russia after the October Revolution. The opening of the first embassy gave also the opportunity to the third countries to communicate with the Soviet Russia. At the same time, the role of a mediator strengthened the position of the young Republic of Estonia in the international arena.
The Embassy in Moscow worked until August 1940. After incorporating Estonia into the USSR, the archives and the properties of the embassy were enlisted to the NKVD and the People’s Commissariat of Foreign Affairs. The properties were passed over to the “Permanent Representative of the ESSR in Moscow” and the permanent representation started its work in the building, which earlier belonged to the Embassy.
The so-called “permanent representations of the councils of ministers of the Soviet Republics to the Council of Ministers of the USSR”, unlike the embassies, did not serve diplomatic purposes. Most of all they were used as the residences of the Party leaders of the Soviet Republics in Moscow. Because of the afore-mentioned functions, an administrative building was added to the historical building roughly 20 years ago. This included a hotel, a canteen and a number of offices.
The permanent representation functioned till 1991, until the first post-war Ambassador of Estonia to Russia, Mr Jüri Kahn, started his duties. At the same time the work began to reconstruct the building of the soviet-style permanent representation into a modern embassy with a consular department with rooms suitable for nowadays consular work. Today a contemporary diplomatic mission is working in the historical premises.