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The President of the Republic spoke at a history conference

President Rüütel today delivered a speech at a history conference dedicated to the 85th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.

The President of the Republic in his speech said that the 85th anniversary since the foundation of the Republic of Estonia had occasioned both our government agencies and every Estonian to reminisce about the past, but equally to contemplate the present day and our future aspirations.

"While fitting the recent past into the complete picture of the Estonian history, we can understand how a people who had suffered terrible losses from annexation, war and repressions could restore their independence and build so quickly a democratic society. Our experience shows that a people who fall back on their historic heritage and have preserved their national spirit and identity can do that. It also helps us understand and recreate democratic values," President Rüütel told.

The President of the Republic stressed that, although we this year had marked the 85th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, we should not forget that we had really been independent for a third of a century only. "Our state is young, democratic traditions rather weak, and our political culture as to settling disagreements still in its infancy," President Rüütel noted.

The President of the Republic in conclusion emphasized that today's Estonia was a part of an integrating Europe and globalizing world, in which politicians had a dual responsibility because, alongside ensuring balanced development of their own country, they had to lead an efficient process of integration into the European Union. "Performing these tasks, all activities ensuring the survival of the Estonian state, language and culture are important," the President of the Republic pronounced.

Today, also Doctor Eero Medijainen, Doctor Lauri Mälksoo and Professor Tiit Rosenberg from the University of Tartu will speak at the conference. The first conference day will conclude with a film programme by the Filmarchives of the National Archives of Estonia.

Tomorrow, the conference will continue in three thematic sections: "Possibilities of Existence of Small States in the 20th Century Europe", "Importance of National Culture in Preserving Identity" and "Legal Continuity in the Estonian Statehood".

The proposal to organise on the occasion of the 85th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia, in particular, on the occasion of the jubilee of government agencies, a historic conference, was made by the President of the Republic, Arnold Rüütel. The Ministry of Education and Research of the Republic of Estonia was responsible for organising it.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, November 21, 2003

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