Heinz Valk: Savisaar the most valuable player during Popular Front days

Heinz Valk.
Heinz Valk. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Edgar Savisaar was an extremely hard worker and among the chief players of Estonian politics during the days of the Popular Front, former politician and one of the movement's leading figures Heinz Valk said.

Valk told ERR that he will remember Edgar Savisaar as an important player from the time of the Popular Front. "We got acquainted during the filming of a television program during which the Popular Front was formed. We remained quite closely associated, alongside other brothers-in-arms, until Estonia restored its independence," Valk said.

The former politician said that Savisaar was an extremely hard worker at the time. "He was a hard worker and no mistake during those days. Even when we sometimes worked long evenings in the Supreme Council, the light was still on in his office when we left for the night. He downright exhausted many others that worked on grand designs with him."

"But it was an era when no one had time to consider their health or other aspects of personal well-being. Everything had to be full steam. And Edgar was. I would not hesitate to put him on top if I had to choose the most valuable players from the period," Valk remarked.

He said that Edgar Savisaar had the ideas and political instinct required to pull off necessary maneuvers. "This whole thing (referring to restoration of independence – ed.) would not have gone as smoothly without him," he offered.

Only Savisaar and Valk knew Popular Front would be founded during a television program

Valk also recalled how the Popular Font was born on television. "It was a long program – I think it was three hours – and we were not off to a great start. We were talking in circles and getting nowhere. I was furious and seriously considered walking out as it would be embarrassing to look people in the eye the next day if such a highly anticipated show came to nothing. I was pacing up and down the TV building corridors and didn't even want to talk to anyone," Valk said.

"And then, Savisaar walked up to me out of the shadows and asked me what I thought about getting the Popular Front done during the second half of the show. The proposal was very sudden, but I liked the moniker of the Popular Front as those two words held so many meanings. I told him that I was on board. We agreed on a tactical move where Savisaar would ask the hosts to speak first during the next round and would then throw the ball to me, asking what artists, people in the field of culture thought about forming a mass movement under the name Popular Front. That I would take it from there. And that is just what happened. No one else knew about the initiative, meaning that the proposal was quite shocking. Even so, people quickly seized what they perceived held new opportunities," the politician recalled.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Marcus Turovski

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