eesti keeles

Press Releases
Open in print mode

The President of the Republic conferred state decorations

President Arnold Rüütel yesterday at Kadriorg signed two decisions - # 976 and # 977, to confer state decorations on 834 Estonian and foreign nationals in recognition of their services to Estonia and its people on the occasion of the 88th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia and the 15th anniversary of the restoration of independence.

By decision # 976, state decorations are awarded to 538 individuals on the occasion of the Independence Day and in recognition of services to Estonia and its people. Among the reward recipients, there are many friends of Estonia from abroad, as well as scientists, educationalists, cultural figures, businessmen, state officials, freedom fighters and military people.

''Due to the activities of those fine people we can say today that life in Estonia is steadily advancing. I am pleased that there are many people in the world who are fostering friendly ties with Estonia. I am even more proud of my fellow countrymen who through their commitment and activities have contributed to making our country into ever safer and more comfortable home,'' President Rüütel said.

By decision # 977, state decorations are awarded to 296 individuals - restorers and promoters of the Republic of Estonia. The preamble of the decision runs as follows:

''On the eve of the 88th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia and in the 15th year after the restoration of the Republic of Estonia we thank and honour those whose activity helped to restore and secure the Estonian state, today a member state of the European Union and NATO.

The Republic of Estonia thanks those who consistently directed the attention of international organisations and international community to the continuing occupation of Estonia, signed the ''Letter of Forty'', were bearers of national ideals, and preserved the idea of independent statehood.

The Republic of Estonia thanks members of the Supreme Council who in the cause of restoration of independence participated in creating a legal basis for our independent statehood, and scientists, experts and public servants whose contribution guaranteed the efficiency of the work done by the Supreme Council.

The Republic of Estonia thanks initiators and active organisers of the Estonian Popular Front, the Committee of Estonian Citizens and other popular movements whose activities secured a broad support of people for the realisation of the idea of independent statehood.

The Estonian state thanks ministers and public servants who were actively participating in restoring, organising and reinforcing the executive branch of power.

The Estonian state thanks those who created and strengthened local government as a basis for statehood in counties, rural municipalities and cities.''

Signing the decision, President Rüütel once again stressed the idea expressed in his speech delivered on the occasion of the 86th anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty: ''The 15 years that have passed since the restoration of independence give us a temporal distance necessary for conjuncture free assessment of historical events. At the same time, the number of people who re-established our state is decreasing year by year, and it is our duty to express them our gratitude. On this occasion, let us cast aside political rivalry that many a time tends to misguide us also in our today's deeds. Let us admit that independence is like a wholesome masterpiece of art, full of nuances and created through the participation of the entire nation, and it is not right to leave aside or emphasise, at the cost of others, any colours of that picture.''

The President of the Republic emphasised that making his decision he wished, on behalf of the Estonian state, to thank all the people who helped the freedom ideals to win avoiding the use of violence. ''The restoration of Estonia's independence was a kind of new War of Independence, however, without bloodshed this time, which, getting its strength from singing, brought us a victory thanks to the unity among people and their political activeness. The only realistic way to thank and recognise the whole nation is through those concrete persons whose commitment and brave deeds determined both the direction and the outcome of the process of the restoration of independence. They took personal responsibility for their people and with this also concurrent risks,'' the Head of State said.

President Rüütel expressed his confidence that it is now a right time to show gratitude and together with that to make historical assessment of the events of our recent past. ''Estonia needs such overview of events right now, so that we can go on and successfully cope with new challenges of contemporary world. We need the same unity we had fifteen years ago also today, and the way in which we handle the events of that time happens to be a significant touchstone. If we succeeded in doing that, there would be every reason to believe that Estonia will be doing well also in the 20th or the 30th year after the restoration of independence,'' the Head of State said.

The President of the Republic said that the awards recipients had helped to keep alive the construction of legal continuity and at the same time had filled it with organisational content. ''Even the noblest idea does not work by itself, to realise an idea a lot of directing and constructive work of many people is needed. Therefore, we have to thank all those people who throughout the occupation years never got tired of believing into the rebirth of our independent statehood, and were ready for the sake of independence to take the risk of loosing not only their jobs or personal freedom but also their lives,'' President Rüütel said.

''We have every reason to thank democratically elected members of the Supreme Council and all others who supported the activities of the Constituent Assembly for their work done on August 20, 1991, but also for their work with drafting pre-constitutional acts and their implementation. The Estonian Popular Front and the movement of Estonian Citizens' Committees managed to unite hundred of thousands of our fellow countrymen into an efficient force performing on the basis of participatory democracy that made the high political culture of our people known all over the world. Under the circumstances where the old, totalitarian society was already falling apart and the process of creating a new democratic values-based legal order was not yet completed, commitment and initiative of people bearing the responsibilities of executive power - ministers and other public servants - became indispensably important. Like it had been a hundred years before, also in the period of re-establishing independence, the first restored institutions of our independent statehood - the local governments - became schools teaching the art of building the Republic of Estonia and were a foundation on which to stand, the resolute activity of local government leaders at that time - county governors, mayors and others, directly supported also the legislative power. Every institution and movement had their own place and meaning, and using their own ways they managed to combine the will of people into a powerful and non-violent force. Every person who at that time facilitated the process of restoration of independence can say that by his or her local activities he or she made a contribution that has also global significance - as it helped to restore justice and make the world a more decent place to live,'' President Rüütel added.

The text of both decisions of the Head of State together with the complete list of award recipients are available on the homepage of the President of the Republic:

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, February 7, 2006

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