Gallery: Resistance day marked across Estonia

Sunday saw the marking of national day of resistance in Estonia, which commemorates all those who stood for the preservation of Estonia's national continuity and independence during the close-on half a century of Soviet occupation.

The day also marked 75 years since Otto Tief's government entered into office. Tief (1889-1976) was the last acting prime minister before the reoccupation of the country by the Soviet Union, appointed by acting president Jüri Uluots.

Tief's government left Tallinn for Lääne County, Estonia's westernmost mainland county, with the aim of continuing in exile, ahead of advancing Red Army forces.

However, only secretary of state Helmut Maandi (1906-1990) was able to flee the country, and keep alight the flame of Estonian national continuity in exile, in Sweden.

"It was hard, since only one man, Helmut Maandi, got away. He had the necessary documents with him...which were taken to Sweden," said historian Mati Mandel to ETV current affairs show Aktuaalne kaamera, ERR's online news in Estonian reports (link in Estonian).

Resistance Day solemnities in Tallinn began at sunrise, when students from Tallinn's 21st school raised the flag at the Pikk Hermann tower.

Later, at 2.45 p.m. a procession of academic organizations proceeded from Raekoja Plats in Tallinn's old town, to Vabaduse Väljak.

Culture minister Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) gave the speech and head of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church (EELK) Archbishop Urmas Viilma led the memorial service.

"The values, without which the Estonian state would not have been restored, which our forefathers carried can be passed on to us. There can only be a restoration when there is something to be restored," Lukas said.

A wreath-laying ceremony followed at the War of Independence Victory Pillar in Vabaduse Väljak.

A procession Sunday also took place in Lääne County, starting at Ridala Church and passing the Põgari prayer house in Haapsalu, which hosted the last session of Tief's administration.

A memorial stone commemorating these events was also unveiled, insrcibed with a poem by Aidi Vallik and set to later hold a bronze statue by Aivar Simson, of a mother carrying both daughter and suitcase, symbolizing those who had to flee Estonia.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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