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Comenius “European Cultural Diversity is Our Common Wealth ” 2010-2012. A human of Estonian history . Lennart Meri. Early life.

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early life
Early life

LennartMeri was born in Tallinn on29 March 1929. He left Estonia with his family at an early age and studied abroad, in nine different schools and in four different languages. In addition to his native Estonian, LennartMeri fluently spoke five other languages: Finnish, French, German, English and Russian.


His family was in Tallinn when Estonia was occupied by the armed forces of the Soviet Union in June 1940.

In 1941, the Merisfamily was deported to Siberia. At the age of twelve, heworked as a lumberman in



The Meri family survived and returned back to Estonia. In 1953 LennartMeri graduated with great honour from the Faculty of History and Languages of Tartu University. The politics of the Soviet Union did not allow him to work as a historian, so Merifound work as a dramatist in the the oldest theatre of Estonia, “Vanemuine“. Several of his films were released to great critical acclaim.

writer and filmmaker
Writer and filmmaker

In1958 LennartMeri wrote his first book after a trip to the TianShan Mountains in Central Asia and the old Islamic centres in the Kara KumDesert. The film “The Winds of the Milky Way ” was banned in the Soviet Union, but won a silver medal at the New York Film Festival. In Finnish schools, his films and texts were used as study materials.


In 1986, LennartMeri was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Helsinki University. He became a member of the Estonian Writers' Union in 1963. In the 1970s, he was elected an Honorary Member of the Finnish Literary Society.

Meri'stravel book of 1974 “VirmalisteVäraval”, which means “At the Gate of the Northern Lights”, won him huge success in the Soviet Union. It was translated into Finnish in 1977 in the Soviet Writers` Union.


Meri'sbest known work is perhaps “Hõbevalge“, which is translated as“Silver White“, which was published in 1976. It reconstructs the history of Estonia and the Baltic Sea region. In his other works Meri combines documentary sources and scientific research with his imagination.

Merifounded the non-governmental Estonian Institute in 1988 to promote cultural contacts with the West and to send Estonian students to study abroad.

political activity
Political activity

After more than twenty years of refusals, the Soviet authorities permitted LennartMeri to travel beyond the “Iron Curtain”. In the late 1970s he went to Finland. In 1990 Meriwas appointed to the post of Foreign Minister. As the Minister of Foreign Affairs, LennartMeri’screated the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


After a brief period as the Ambassador of Estonia to Finland, on 6 October 1992, he became the 2nd President of the Republic of Estonia. LennartMeri was sworn in as the President on 6 October 1992. On 20 September 1996, he was re-elected for a second and final term.


In 1994, the Estonian Newspaper Associationdeclared Meri the Year's Press Enemy. Interestingly, in 1998, Meri was given the complementary award and titled the Year's Press Friend.In 1999, Meriwas once again given the Year's Press Enemy award.