Last leader of Estonian SSR may be honored by City of Tallinn

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Vaino Väljas. Source: Siim Lõvi ERR

The last leader of the Estonian Communist Party, Vaino Väljas, has been nominated to receive a coat of arms from Tallinn City Government. Still resident in Tallinn, Väljas, 90, was party leader during the period leading up to Estonian independence, and was an important figure during that period.

Tallinn City Government has sponsored Väljas' candidacy, along with close to 30 others, while the award must pass a council chamber vote. Center councilor Andres Kollist made the actual proposal, citing Väljas' role in the restoration of independence, which became a reality on August 20 1991, including his adoption of the Estonian Sovereignty Declaration on November 16, 1988.

A total of 27 people have been nominated candidates for the decoration, including singer Ivo Linna, rally driver Ott Tänak, former Soviet basketball player and olympic gold medalist, now coach, Tiit Sokk, Kuku Radio journalist Timo Tarve, and leading doctors Arkadi Popov and Peep Talving – both prominent figures through the coronavirus pandemic.

Head of the Lutheran church Archbishop Urmas Viilma has also been nominated.

31 people have received the Tallinn coat of arms since 1997.

Vaino Väljas was chair of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR in the mid 1960s and later first secretary of the Communist Party of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. He was made party chair in April 1990, appointed by Mikhail Gorbachev, who was a personal friend.

He has also received state awards, namely the Order of the National Coat of Arms 3rd Class, and the Order of the White Star.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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