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President of the Republic at the centenary of the Estonian Kalev Sports Society in Estonia Opera House on 24 May 2001

Dear members of the Kalev society,

I cordially congratulate you all on the centenary of the Kalev society. I wish to the Kalev Sports Society new sports victories in the advancement of Estonian sports and love for homeland. And above all I pay my respect to those members of the Kalev society that remained faithful to the principles of Kalev even when the occupation authorities banned Kalev, and through whom the spirit and ideas of Kalev directed sportsmen when the name Kalev was scorned, and thanks to whom we can talk about the continuity of the principles today. These men, first of all the record-holder of many years Ruudi Toomsalu, who is in sickbed today, Lieutenant Colonel Sven Ise, who has spent 11 years in a prison camp, and Ants Kargaja who has also spent 11 years in the camp for condemned prisoners, and other few survivors should be honorary members of Kalev. It is through their faithfulness, will and love for homeland that we can relate the Kalev today with the Tallinn Kalev Bicyclers'' Society established a hundred years ago. These men deserve our deep respect, for which I give lead from this very rostrum.

Kalev that was established a hundred years ago was one of the many organisations that drew our hopes and will together to become organised, respect and perpetuate the name of Estonia, exercise the right of self-determination of Estonia. This became evident in the War of Independence. The Chairman of the Kalev Sports Society of many years Ensign Leopold Tõnson set up the Kalev Regional Unit of the Defence League a few hundred metres from this place in the Reaalkool secondary school. The Kalev Unit bore the badge of the sports society and a badge in the national colours of Estonia on the sleeve. With the badge of Kalev they fought in the assault landing operation at Loksa and Tsitre, against the venturers of Landeswehr in Latvia, and in a few days seventy years ago the head of state of Estonia opened a monument on the Rahumäe Cemetery to the members of Kalev that were killed for the freedom of Estonia. Kalev had become a symbol of stamina, strength and faithfulness in Estonia.

Ladies and gentlemen, my task today and here is not the history of the sports movement of Estonia but the history of the state of Estonia.

Estonia was occupied by the Red Army on 17 June 1940.

A month after the occupation, on 18 July 1940, an Estonian-Latvian football competition was held at Kadriorg in the Kalev Stadium. After the competition the spectators went towards the Kadriorg Palace to demonstrate their support to the head of state of Estonia who was actually arrested. The alien power stopped the demonstration, but at the same time realised what infinite love for homeland supports the Estonian sports movement. It forced them to act fast. Already on the next day the representative of alien power, Harald Haberman, signed Resolution No. 791. With that resolution, the Central Union of Estonian Sports was declared an enemy of the interests of the so-called working people. The Board of the Central Sports Union was removed in a body and replaced with a new board. On 20 September the Bureau of the Central Committee of the so-called Communist (Bolshevist) Party of Estonia gathered for a meeting. As it directly concerns Kalev, allow me to read out the names of the participants in the meeting: Karl Säre, Nikolai Karotamm, Neeme Ruus, Johannes Lauristin, Endel Tarkpea, Johannes Vares, Boriss Kumm, Olga Lauristin, Oskar Sepre, Arnold Veimer, Feodor Okk, Asmin, Ambros, Orest Kärm, Nigol Andersen, Arnold Raud, Richard Mahl. The thirtieth item on the agenda bears the following heading: "On the Kalev Sports Society". And the contents, - I cite: "firstly, deem the Kalev Sports Society as liquidated from 20 September of this year; secondly, - deliver all structures, sports equipment and furnishings of the Kalev society to the use by the Dynamo Sports Society." In the same tragic and bloody autumn, Arnold Kress was appointed as the Chairman of the Physical Culture and Sports Committee. That name is worth remembering as well. In one of his letters to Moscow, Arnold Kress raised the requirement to deport Estonians - and I am citing again - "to the more distant regions of the Soviet Union, as their dismissal will lead to movements from place to place and create even better conditions for counter-revolutionary activities."

Dear members of Kalev, ladies and gentlemen, such has been the history of Kalev during the occupations. It is the history of Estonia, but not the history of the Republic of Estonia. I dwelt on these details because we have still a confused understanding of the meaning of the legal continuity of the Republic of Estonia. Two extremes are still evident: the effort to reconcile us with the Soviet occupation, on the one hand, and the effort to reconcile us with the Nazist occupation, on the other hand. Ladies and gentlemen, it is not difficult to understand the legal continuity of Estonia. A state is a state and a society is a society. Inviolability of a state is secured by international law. This is why we are talking about the legal continuity of the Republic of Estonia. But what secures the continuity of a society? The history of a society is not the history of its seal, the history of a society is its faithfulness to the aims, ideas and the homeland. All steps taken in the Republic of Estonia by the alien power after the occupation of Estonia on 17 June 1940 and before the re-enactment of the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia on 3 July 1992 are null and void. This should be obvious to all of us, our sportsmen who have carried the Estonian flag with honour and pride in the many stadiums of the world and brought home so many medals that have set Estonia in the forefront of the most successful sports countries of the world. We have no reason to point out the representatives of the Nazist power who allowed to restore the Kalev Sports Society in 1943 in the interests of unity of their front and rear. We have no reason to point out the representatives of power in Moscow and their Estonian quislings who tried to balance the resolution of the Nazis with a similar resolution in December 1943 to restore Kalev. All this has nothing to do with the Republic of Estonia, but has been and is related to the faithfulness of Estonians to the sports movement and the honest sports competition which has winners but never losers.

At this festive celebration today I would like to tie together under the eyes of all of you symbolically the threads inherited to us. I invite the member of Kalev from 1935, Ants Kargaja, to come here with a symbolic torch, and deliver it for safekeeping to young members of Kalev, Kaspar Valgepea and Pauliine Viidu.

Keep Kalev well. We will all need Kalev both in good and bad times.

Keep Estonia well. I wish a lot of happiness to the flame that has been burning for a hundred years!

Thank you!


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