Defense Minister Honored by Forest Brothers ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Ministry of Defence

Government officials are usually the ones who decorate soldiers, but on Wednesday, Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu found himself the recipient of the former Estonian resistance fighters' order of merit, second class.

"With this decoration, we honor people who have made an outstanding contribution to supporting efforts to enshrine the memory of the forest brother resistance movement," said Arnold Ojaste, the chairman of the organisation.

In turn, Reinsalu credited the organization's work in supporting veterans of the armed resistance movement which began in the 1940s and ended completely only 13 years before the Soviet Union itself collapsed.

"I consider it important that we not forget people who protected their families and themselves from the violence of a foreign regime in the hopes that Estonian independence would be restored," said Reinsalu.

At today's meeting, Reinsalu discussed future cooperation and recognition for forest brothers.

Attention was devoted to the creation of a database on the history of the movement, expressing recognition of former resistance fighters and their supporters and proposals for how to mark the 20th anniversary of the withdrawal of the Russian military from Estonia - what some consider the end date of the occupation - on August 31, 1994.