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The President of the Republic attended the March deportation memorial ceremony

President Arnold Rüütel today in Tallinn on the hill of Lindamägi attended the March deportation memorial ceremony organised by the Memento Tallinn Society, and laid a wreath at the foot of the statue of Linda.

The President of the Republic started his memorial address asking to observe a moment of silence to commemorate the victims of all deportations.

In his address, President Rüütel said that as the whole Christian world is making preparations for the Easter celebration, our thoughts are simultaneously with Good Friday and the events that happened 56 years ago. "Time has not erased from our memory the pain that innocent victims of deportation and their relatives had to suffer. But we know that after sufferings a new hope for happier tomorrow will born again," the Head of the State said.

The President of the Republic told about the cold nights of the March 1949 deportation when 20 000 of our fellow countrymen were torn away from their homes, almost three-fourth of them were women, children and oldsters who could not have been found guilty by any state or regime. "According to the researchers the human loss Estonia had during WWII and the following repressions amounted to one fifth of the whole population. Our neighbours shared the same fate and as a result of that Estonia and Latvia are the only states in Europe where the number of indigenous people today is less than it was at the beginning of the 20th century. The representatives of several other ethnic groups for whom Estonia was home shared the same sufferings with the Estonians. This is our history, and we have to know it," President Rüütel continued.

The President of the Republic noted, that Estonia does not want any confrontation, neither here in the Baltic Sea region nor anywhere else. "We wish that the tension in the relations between the countries and the lying and violence would end. Therefore, we talk honestly about our history and defend the principles of democracy that do not tolerate any violence neither in one's own country nor elsewhere," President Rüütel stressed.

According to the Head of the State democracy means the protection and development of man's right to create. This is the path the Estonian people chose in 1918. We have paid a high price for it, but we shall remain committed to the choice we have made.

The President of the Republic stressed: "Faithfulness is always ennobling. We are standing here together, where the statue of Linda symbolizes faithfulness. Here, at the foot of the Dome Hill, the past and the future, the power and the people, the mother and her progeny, our home and the world meet. It has always given strength to me and to my family. We do not need the state so that we can scold and abuse it, and we do not need freedom so that we can mock at it. We need the state so that we can create, and we have to protect our freedom. I am sure that we are capable to do it."

After the memorial ceremony the President of the Republic and Mrs. Ingrid Rüütel are going to attend a divine service of the memorial day of the victims of deportation at Nõmme Rahu Church.

Public Relations Unit of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, March 25, 2005

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