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The President of the Republic celebrated the Day of restoration of Independence

Today the restoration of the Republic of Estonia was celebrated with a traditional festive concert in the rose garden of the Office of the President of the Republic.

President Rüütel stressed in his anniversary speech that Estonia’s independence and our economic success as a Member State of the European Union and security within the North Atlantic space is not a matter-of-course gift of the destiny. “During the last 15 years many people have contributed to these achievements. Each new generation has to contribute as well,” the Head of State noted.

In the words of the President of the Republic we shall be unfair to ourselves and to history if we now and again oppose participants in the then events to each other, categorize them as leading and secondary actors, or delete them altogether from the pages of history. “But it would also be wrong to embellish the past events. However, we should recall that during the restoration of independence thousands of people demonstrated genuine heroism defending not only our state borders, but also Toompea, the building of Estonian Radio or TV tower,” President Rüütel said.

“Recalling Estonia’s rapid development and extensive reforms during the last fifteen years, we ask now and again: ‘Is this the Estonia we were dreaming about?’ My answer is that a vast majority of people wished a free and democratic Estonia. If a specific decision has not withstood the test of time, or a part of society feels deprived of the fruits of our development success, neither independence nor democracy is to blame,” the Head of State said.

Also Edgar Savisaar, Vardo Rumessen and Rein Järlik spoke at the ceremony.

In his speech, Edgar Savisaar compared Estonia’s independence with a rose and said that fifteen years ago we grafted a new rose onto a wrecked plant from which dignified and proud Republic of Estonia has grown that looks like a well nurtured rosebud. Estonia’s destiny has been fragile, thorny and beautiful like the roses in this garden, and we must take a good care of our state, as the destiny of Estonia is after all primarily in our own hands, Savisaar said.

In the words of Valdo Rumessen we can be proud that in the days of restoration of our independence different political forces managed to reach mutual understanding and various organizations were able to work together toward a common goal. It was essential to make a decision that would be recognized by the rest of the world, and in these days Arnold Rüütel acted vigorously to reach that agreement, Rumessen said.

Rein Järlik said that each period of history has its own heroes – for example, fifteen years ago our heroes were those people who were defending our TV tower, the buildings of Estonian Radio and Television. At the same time, the members of the Supreme Council were not heroes in the words of Järlik, they were simply doing the work that the people had elected them to do. The role of the Supreme Council was the one that nobody else could take and the deputies to the Supreme Council fulfilled their task, Järlik said.

The Orchestra of Estonian Defense Forces and the chamber choir „Revalia“ conducted by Peeter Saan, soloists Sirje and Väino Puura, Katrin Karisma and Tõnu Kilgas, and the ensemble „Noorkuu“ performed in the concert.

On the occasion of the Day of Restoration of Independence, the President of the Republic had invited to the concert representatives of all constitutional institutions, all those who are or have been members of the Riigikogu, members of the Government, county governors, those who were members of the Supreme Council fifteen years ago, present members of the European Parliament, mayors and council chairmen of rural municipalities and cities. Also all other people who had participated in the restoration of independence were invited, among them the leaders of the Peoples’ Front, the Citizens’ Committees, freedom fighters, defenders of TV tower, military representatives as well as public figures.

In the morning, President Rüütel participated in the meeting of „August 20 Club“ in Toompea palace. At 4 pm the President of the Republic will greet the audience of a public concert held on the occasion of the Day of Restoration of Independence in Town Hall Square. In the evening President Rüütel and Mrs. Ingrid Rüütel will host a festive dinner for all ambassadors residing in Estonia. At 9:30 pm, the President of the Republic will participate in the programme „Is this the Estonia we wanted? ”that will be aired live on ETV and Vikerraadio.

The full text of President Rüütel’s today’s speech is available at

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

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