Justice Ministry: 25 March may be declared national holiday this year ({{commentsTotal}})

Thousands of candles are lit all over the country every year to commemorate the victims of the 1949 March deportations.
Thousands of candles are lit all over the country every year to commemorate the victims of the 1949 March deportations. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

The Ministry of Justice has submitted a proposal to the government to celebrate 25 March this year as a one-off national holiday. Though so far not on Estonia's list of official flag days, 25 March is typically a day of remembrance for the victims of the 1949 March deportations.

This year 25 March marks the 70th anniversary of Operation Priboi, or "Coastal Surf", in the course of which Soviet forces and authorities deported more than 22,000 Estonians to Siberia between 25 and 28 March, 1949.

In recent years, 25 March has been a day of remembrance for the victims around the country as well as for Estonian communities abroad.

Operation Priboi also included Latvia and Lithuania. All in all, more than 90,000 people were deported. The first were allowed to return only in 1958, the last in 1965. Thousands never made it back.

The Justice Ministry's proposal wants to see 25 March, 2019 declared a national holiday.

At this point, there is no plain to install the date among Estonia's holidays more permanently, though the importance of the move cannot be underestimated: should the government agree, all state and public institutions and authorities will fly the Estonian flag as a flag of mourning on 25 March this year.

The ministry has submitted a bill to the effect for consultation to the Riigikogu, the Supreme Court, the National Audit Office, the Chancellor of Justice, the Government Office, the Bank of Estonia, the different ministries and Estonia's local council associations.

The consultation phase serves to notify all of the state's institutions of the potential measure, the Justice Ministry said.

Editor: Dario Cavegn



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