Ilves Honors Activists, Musicians and Businessmen ({{commentsTotal}})


Besides the internationally recognizable names reported on earlier, this year's list of 99 state decorations awarded to Estonians by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves includes civil society activists, IT pioneers, entrepreneurs and alternative musicians.

The most prominent activists to receive the Order of the White Star (third and fifth class, respectively) are Rainer Nõlvak, the initiator of the clean-up action Let's Do It that has since expanded to become a worldwide movement, and Urmo Kübar from the Estonian Network of Estonian Non-Profit Organizations.

"I think it's not so much for me as for the 50,000 Estonians who provided the world with an example that is still making its rounds in rather exotic countries. I am very glad,” Nõlvak told

In total, 22 people active in business were decorated, including TransferWise executive and co-founder Taavet Hinrikus and several IT specialists involved with the X-Road project.

The representatives of the arts include cinematographer Rein Kotov, Director of the Viljandi Culture Academy Anzori Barkalaja, actor Jaan Rekkor and artist Kaido Ole. Somewhat surprising choices for the Order of the White Star, fifth class, are punk musician Villu Tamme and musician and DJ Raul Saaremets, a founding father of the Estonian alternative music scene. Mostly known for his band Röövel Ööbik, Saareemets been gaining international attention with his project Ajukaja.

The Order of the Estonian Red Cross, first class, was awarded to anatomist, promoter of medical education and Professor Emeritus of University of Tartu Arne Lepp. Other honorees included addiction counselors and blood donors. The Order of the Cross of the Eagle was awarded to veterans of overseas missions and promoters of cyber defense.

The number of honorees has fluctuated over the years; former president Arnold Rüütel awarded a record-setting 834 decorations in 2006.

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