MOSCOW, August 3 (RIA Novosti) – A bas-relief commemorating Russia’s first president Boris Yeltsin for his role in Estonia's peaceful restoration of independence will be inaugurated in Tallinn on August 22, local media reported.
The relief sculpture, designed by New York-based sculptor Ernst Neizvestny and young Estonian sculptor Rene Reinumäe, will have an inscription in Estonian, English and Russian praising Yeltsin’s effort to prevent the bloodshed during the country’s transition to sovereignty after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
“A monument to be installed by civic initiative is the greatest tribute that Estonian citizens can posthumously pay to the president of a neighboring country who, while controversial, played such an important role in our liberation,” Estonian public broadcaster ERR quoted MTÜ Mälestuse Initsiatiiv group, which was behind the project.
Yeltsin's widow Naina is expected to attend the inauguration ceremony, the group said.
As chairman of the Presidium of the Russian Supreme Soviet at the time, Yeltsin flew to Tallinn immediately after the attempt to restore Soviet rule by force in Lithuania on January 13, 1991. He signed agreements granting independence to all Baltic republics – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
Estonia is the last of the three Baltic states to honor Yeltsin for his role in the Baltic independence drive.
Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga personally awarded Yeltsin with the Tristar Order in 2007 while Lithuania posthumously awarded the first Russian president with the Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis in 2012.