Historian Marek Tamm said President Toomas Hendrik Ilves has a tradition of giving out high awards to politicians after they have quit active politics. Otherwise Ilves focuses more on education and culture in his annual honors lists.
“I think it's justified that a politician is rewarded when he has done his or her job well,” Tamm said, adding that Ilves usually does not award politicians during their terms in power.
Siim Kallas, who completed a 10-year tour as a European commissioner, Andrus Ansip, who stepped down as PM a year ago, and the out-going Chancellor of Justice Indrek Teder will all receive high decorations this year.
“If one were to look for connections to current events, then awarding cartoonists is definitely related to what happened in Paris,” Ott Karulin, editor-in-chief of Sirp, said. Cartoonists Hillar Mets (Eesti Päevaleht) and Urmas Nemvalts (Postimees) are both on the president's honors list.
Tamm said other connections to global events can also be found, such as the recognition of Ruslan Trochynsky, a promoter of Estonian and Ukrainian culture and music, and who has also organized aid drives for Ukraine.
Ilves announced the 99-strong honors list on Wednesday. The medals will be given out on February 23, a day before Estonia turns 97.
Editor: J.M. Laats