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President Konstantin Päts: How loudly do past memories and emotions speak?

The unveiling of the new statue of President Konstantin Päts on October 21st, 2022, in Tallinn, has brought about a re-evaluation of the historical legacy of the famous Estonian inter-war President.

Official portrait of Konstantin Päts
Official portrait of Konstantin Päts

Growing up in Toronto, there was no figure in Estonian history that loomed larger than President Konstantin Päts. He was either President, Prime Minister, or Head of State of Estonia three times, and the sole President from 1938 to June 1940. A large painting of him hung front and centre in the main entrance of the Estonian House on Broadview Avenue, Toronto, and a large framed photograph of him hangs in a place of honour at Ehatare Retirement and Nursing Home in a suburb of Toronto. For our parents and grandparents, he represented the childhood memories of being surrounded by loving relatives and parents, living in an increasingly prosperous Estonia, and a world where everyone seemed honest and upright. And all of this came crashing down with the Soviet Union occupying the first Republic of Estonia. Päts' reputation was very clear.

While building Estonians houses (Eesti majad), Estonian schools, and churches around the world, diaspora Estonians felt ...

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