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Busts of former presidents were unveiled in the rose garden of the President’s Office

Today a ceremony of unveiling the busts of President Päts and President Meri took place in the Rose Garden of the Office of the President. The event was held within the framework of the celebrations of the 15th anniversary of the restoration of Estonia’s independence.

In his opening address, the President of the Republic underlined that a significant part of the lifework of the presidents was the shaping of the institution that is connected with this place. “Unquestionably, the highest point and most substantial part of their creation is the Estonian state. This is the reason why our people will always remember them with gratitude,” President Rüütel said.

“The Presidents of the Republic of Estonia, Konstantin Päts and Lennart Meri have made an invaluable contribution to the realisation of the boldest dreams of many generations to have their own state and be self-sustaining. To a great extent we have to give credit to them for being an independent nation in unified Europe,” the Head of State said.

Historian Toomas Hiio spoke about the timeperiods the presidents lived in, their fate and the decisions they had to take. “It has not been easy for Estonia to commemorate the memory of its great statesmen. Today two of our former presidents have reached the place that is the symbol of the institution of the president,” Toomas Hiio said.

In the words of artist Olev Subbi we were lucky, as artists had modelled the portraits of the two past presidents when they were alive. If the artist is influenced by the personality of his model it is possible to create a portrait that is really worth that name. Subbi also stressed that the two sculptures gain additional value from the fact that they have been modelled by two different artists and are works of art that were created in the spirit of the time.

The Orchestra of Estonian Defence Forces, the Male Choir of the Academy of Sciences and the Engineers’ Male Choir directed by Kuno Areng performed at the ceremony.

The busts placed in the rose garden of the President’s Office were: a bronze copy of the portrait of Konstantin Päts (1937), created by Ferdi Sannamees, and a bronze copy of the portrait of Lennart Meri (2000) created by Mare Mikoff. A council consisting of artists, sculptors, city representatives and family members of both presidents chose the busts.

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, June 20, 2006

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