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The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, on the 65th anniversary of the March deportation

The President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, on the 65th anniversary of the March deportation © Raigo Pajula (valitsus.ee)


Today we commemorate and mourn the thousands of victims of the regime of occupation, who were deported to Siberia by the Soviet Union. Sixty five years ago was one night among many that represented an attempt by the totalitarian alien regime to destroy our country, our people and our memory, the memories of independence and our yearning for it.

The long lists of the deported do not solely represent numbers – these are our mothers and fathers, children and grandparents, uncles and aunts, friends and colleagues. These represent the fates of our people and the tragic stories of our families.

The alien regime demanded both loud obedience and silent consent from its victims. Anyone who disagreed was an enemy who had to be killed, imprisoned or deported.

And again, regrettably, we see fearful or indifferent looks on the faces of the people of Europe, our home, which lacks the guts or ability to stand up to violence. Blue-eyed hopes and leaving victims of aggression fend for themselves have never helped to make the world a safer place and stop the aggressor – nor will they help it in the future.

We must forever remember and keep recalling the others for whom the price of a freedom list is much higher than the temporary decrease of economic benefits. We must explain this to our partners in Europe and the world. We must support Ukraine, as members of NATO and the European Union.

Estonia has the right and moral obligation to do this. Based on our own experiences, we know full well the true evil of aggression, even if the aggressor first arrives without firing a single shot.

Estonia defied the evil and became a free country again. Now we must support others and give them hope and faith in freedom.

By doing this, we confirm our faith in a free Estonia. And by doing this we also confirm to the victims of deportation that what was done to them will never happen again.