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Statement of the President and Mrs. Rüütel in Kadriorg, on January 22, 2006

Since the TV programme “Pealtnägija” was shown in the Estonian Television channel ETV on January 18, there has been a lot of talk about the events connected with our family in the President’s Residence. It is fully justified that a departmental investigation has been launched. We hope that this will determine what actually happened, and how the security regime in the residence of the President functioned. Before the end of the investigation it is not correct to voice any judgement. For our part, we wish to share with the public our general understanding of what has happened according to the information we have today.

Parties that were depicted in the photos, which were shown in the TV programme, took place in October last year. Before that our grandchildren had had schoolmates and friends of their own age visit them at home, but such events had been ordinary get-togethers where nothing condemnable happened. We have always allowed our grandchildren to invite their schoolmates and friends to visit them and it had never caused any problem.

Alas, some of those small gatherings of teenagers developed into parties of young adults, which the girls could no longer control. As we now know, quite a number of young adults who were not personally known to the girls had participated in two parties. Our granddaughters and one more girl from their class were the youngest present. By today we know that the unmanageable parties frightened our grandchildren and they ceased to arrange them.

The information that the parties hosted by our granddaughters in October had got out of control reached us on January 12, when the host of the TV programme “Pealtnägija” contacted the President’s public relations adviser. Next day we also saw the photos that were later used in the TV programme. The program broadcasted on January 18 added some allegations about the events at these parties that still need to be verified. We were earnestly shocked.

Every parent can imagine the unexpected distress we found ourselves in. At the same time it is necessary to admit how easily questionable allegations and rumours spread.

Already now it is possible to say that documents containing state secrets have not been seen by unauthorised persons. It is also certain that the young people had no access to any rooms where the officials of the office of the President work, as at the end of the workday all the rooms are locked and the keys are kept in a room that is guarded by police. The door, which opens to the President’s residence, has never had a code lock. The allegations that the state flag on the roof of the building has been defiled, or that the State Council Hall had been used for parties have also not found confirmation.

We have thoroughly discussed all that has happened with our granddaughters. They understand what they have done wrong and greatly regret it. It was a painful lesson to learn and we hope that it will not haunt them for the rest of their lives.

We would like to thank all those who have shown understanding and consideration towards our family and have found kind words to support us during this difficult time.

© 2006 Office of the President l tel: + 372 631 6202 l fax: + 372 631 6250 l