Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves highly recognised the services of the government of 1990-92, whose activity considerably contributed to the restoration of Estonia’s independence. “When you took the oath of office as members of the government 20 years ago, two things were clear. First, the majority of the Estonian people wanted to be free. And second, the Soviet empire did not want to give freedom to the Estonian people,” Ilves said.
He said that everything else was just guesswork, and in the long term it was still unclear, even frightening. But the government that took office in 1990 was supported by the people’s will to be free, which had been expressed by hundreds of thousands of people in the elections of both the Congress of Estonia as well as of the Supreme Council. “It was difficult to make Estonia’s voice heard and our aspirations understood throughout the world,” Ilves said.
He said that it was not yet possible to rely on Estonia’s defence capabilities because there were no defence forces yet. The police force was re-established and the first border guard started working, but it was very clearly too little to defend Estonia.
“So the recently elected Supreme Council and the Government it appointed had the breakneck task of uncoupling Estonia from the Soviet empire relying on the will of the people and to do it in a way that the tanks of the occupation forces, the contradictions blown up by the pro-imperialists and the crumbling economy of the Soviet Union would not snuff out the flame of freedom ablaze in the country,” Ilves said.
The president said that many ministers of the government of 20 years ago came to Toompea as specialists and only a few of them had been politicians. “But you did your work well and Estonia achieved its aim. Independence was restored through co-operation and there is reason to be proud of it today,” Ilves said, thanking members of the government of the period.
Source: Estonian Review