President: State decoration recipients speak of a brave Estonia

President Kersti Kaljulaid.
President Kersti Kaljulaid. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

During Wednesday's Independence Day celebrations, President Kersti Kaljulaid said the 152 people to receive a state decoration this year all speak of a brave Estonia.

Kaljulaid said in an interview given to ERR that the state decoration recipients are people who also dare to face problems. "There are many people who handle health, mental health, helping troubled people, domestic violence, difficult questions that we perhaps would not like to look at daily," she explained.

"And other hand, there is also a lot of joy, a lot of nice activities and nice people, whose names might not be as well known in Estonia, but are certainly known in their home region. For example, a person running a carper factory in Vändra, many such entrepreneurs who are important employers in their region. Also people who are doing something nice in their area - sports organizers, culture people," Kaljulaid said.

The president also pointed out people who are active with the Estonian language. "People dealing with the Estonian language, also teaching Estonian and making Estonian interesting for other people who are not Estonians," she said.

Kaljulaid noted that the state decorations are rarely meant for individuals. She said that if a library keeper in Sillamäe receives a decoration, it affects all library keepers.

Singer turns down president's state decoration

One of the 152 recipients was Marju Marynel Kuut, a singer who was given the award for her work as a singer, participant of feature film "Varastati Vana Toomas" and Vanemuise Theater's rock opera "Imelugu". She was also recognized for her part in 1970-s popular bands MERL and MIR.

Kuut refused her Order of the White Star, 5th Class state decoration however, saying that her creative career comes to much more than the named movies and ensembles. In a letter addressed to daily Naisteleht, Kuut noted that in issuing such trivial information, the Office of the President showed it does not know what it is doing.

"They think people are bursting out of happiness from simply being recognized..." Kuut noted in her letter. "That is not how I want people to remember me."

Marju Kuut on ETV's "Ringvaade" in 2018. Source: ERR

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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