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  • The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana was instituted in 1995 to honour the independence of the Estonian state by president Lennart Meri. The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana is bestowed upon the President of the Republic. Presidents of the Republic who have ceased to hold office shall keep the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana. The Collar of the Order was used de facto as the badge of office of the President of the Republic, since the original Presidential collar, that of the Order of the National Coat of Arms was taken from Estonia to the Kremlin after the Soviet occupation of the country in 1940, where it remains to this day. However a new collar of that order was made in 2008. The Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana is also given as a decoration of the highest class to foreigners who have rendered special services to the Republic of Estonia. As such it is the highest and most distinguished order granted to non-Estonian citizens.