Gallery: President Konstantin Päts memorial unveiled in Tallinn
A memorial to Estonia's first president Konstantin Päts (1874-1956) was officially unveiled on Friday behind the Estonia Theater in Tallinn.
President Alar Karis, Mayor of Tallinn Mihhal Kõlvart and members of the memorial design competition Veidemann and Madis Päts spoke at the event.
The statue was unveiled by sculptor Vergo Vernik and architect Toivo Tammik. It was later consecrated by the chairman of the Council of Estonian Churches.
Päts was the first president of the Republic of Estonia between 1938–1940.
He was one of the most influential politicians of the pre-war Estonian Republic and served as prime minister five times including during the most difficult time the state faced – the beginning of the War of Independence.
Päts term in office lasted until the Soviet Union occupied Estonia in June 1940 when he was deported along with his family to the U.S.S.R.
Päts died in Russia on January 16, 1956 in Burashevo near Tver. The Estonian Heritage Society found his remains in 1990 and returned them to Estonia.
A monument to the president also stands in Tahkuranna in Pärnu County, his birthplace. It was installed in 1989, 50 years after the Soviets destroyed the original.
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Editor: Mirjam Mäekivi, Helen Wright