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The answer of the Office of the President of the President to the article published by the weekly newspaper Eesti Ekspress

The weekly paper Eesti Ekspress in its article on Desintegraator, published August 31, 2006, used archive documents to make erraneous conclusions that cast doubt upon the oath of conscience taken by Arnold Rüütel. Having acquainted with cited documents and listening to explanations given by people of that time the Office of the President of the Republic can state that the documents cited by Eesti Ekspress had no connection with the repressions against Johannes Hint.

In connection with the case of Johannes Hint and Desintegraator we have to take into account that there was a special relationship between Desintegraator and the USSR Council of Ministers and the State Planning Committee, though Desintegraator formally belonged to the system of Eesti Kolhoosiehitus (EKE) – Estonian Collective Farm Construction Organisation. Therefore Desintegraator enjoyed freedom of activities that to a great extent differed from general standards. On the other hand, it was among the limited number of enterprises in the Soviet Union that had cooperation contacts with foreign companies.

The state security organs that checked the required procedures of handling of classified documents in organisations and enterprises discovered that Desintegraator had not followed the standards in force at that time and the chief of state security of the ESSR informed the Council of Ministers about it. It is understandable that after receiving such information it was necessary to respond and according to the job description it was the task of the deputy head of government who was responsible for the respective field. The majority of correspondence between state agencies and documents were written in the Russian language and were stamped “secret”.

In his statement made today, Arnold Rüütel says; “In totalitarian system special departments were opened to deal with classified documents in every agency that had contacts with the outside world, also in bigger enterprises, higher educational and scientific research institutions. Also Desintegraator belonged to such institutions and the ESSR authorities had no power to change that system.”

A journalist who is ignorant about the circumstances of that time or is handling them superficially can present such material as a startling disclosure but at the same time could cause new injustice if specific details of that period were without any criticism transplanted into contemporary context.

In connection with Johannes Hint’s appeal for clemency we can say that it never reached Arnold Rüütel. A respective file was nevertheless opened in the Presidium of the Council of Ministers and additional material was requested and received. The appeal had not yet been discussed by the Clemency Board before the death of Johannes Hint on September 5, 1985, let alone in the Presidium of the Council of Ministers. Hence, it is not correct to make allegations that Arnold Rüütel had rejected to give him clemency.

We hope that Eesti Express will find an opportunity to publish this statement in full.

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, September 5, 2006

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