Justice minister Reinsalu: Monument to Konstantin Päts 'debt of honor' ({{commentsTotal}})

President of the Republic of Estonia Konstantin Päts, 1938
President of the Republic of Estonia Konstantin Päts, 1938 Source: ERR

Minister of Justice Urmas Reinsalu (IRL), summing up the year at Thursday's government press conference, said that one of the things that were still left undone was the commission of a monument in the honor of Konstantin Päts, Estonia's first president. President Kersti Kaljulaid had rejected the idea to erect such a monument in a garden next to the seat of the Riigikogu.

Konstantin Päts is a controversial figure in Estonian history. While he played a great role in Estonia's way to independence and also in the War of Independence, he acted as Estonia's authoritarian ruler in the years leading up to the first Soviet occupation and the Second World War.

Because of this part of Estonia's history, President Kersti Kaljulaid rejected a proposal to erect a monument dedicated to Päts' memory in the Governor's Garden next to Toompea Castle, the seat of the very parliament whose power Päts undermined.

Still, Reinsalu thinks Päts does deserve a monument. "Konstantin Päts was the architect of our victory in the War of Independence, and it still isn't clear whether we'll erect a monument to him. At first people talked about erecting a column, then we talked about an abstract monument, and recently the competition for this ended without a result," Reinsalu said.

He went on to call the lack of such a monument a "debt of honor" that the Estonian state owed its first president as it was getting ready to celebrate its centennial.

"Yes, we also remember the wrong decisions our great statesmen made, but they also made decisions that can't be overestimated," the minister added.

A competition for a monument for the Governor's Garden recently ended without the jury picking a winner. 14 works were entered, but with each of them there was the issue of either historic or artistic inadequacy. None of the entries did justice to both requirements, the jury stated at the time (ERR News reported).

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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