Hundreds of memorial stones not protected

The register of monuments under heritage protection includes 217 mass graves and two war-themed artistic monuments from the Soviet period, while it does not mention a single memorial stone or other type of Soviet-era monument plenty of which were installed all over Estonia.

The mass graves are the resting places of Red Army casualties and civilians killed in acts of terror. The latter were collective referred to as victims of fascism in Soviet times.

„Estonian and German mass graves have been registered as burial sites,“ said chief inspector of historical monuments of the National Heritage Board Ilme Mäesalu.

The two exceptions concern World War II monuments, both located in Saaremaa. One is the Tehumardi Memorial to commemorate the bloody battles in Sõrve, the other a mass grave monument in Tagavere, Orissaare parish.

Mäesalu scoured the archives for a 1988 photograph of a memorial stone to Soviet airmen in Rääsa village, Ida-Viru County that recently led to a scandal that culminated in the expulsion of two Russian diplomats from Estonia.

The provocative monument is located on a private lot in the town of Kiviõli, with its plaque facing the street, since May 9 of this year. The 1988 photograph shows the rock without a plaque attached to it. The image depicts the rock with a white tablet displaying the names of pilots who were allegedly killed in the area in 1944 resting at its base.

Mäesalu said the photo does not allow one to determine whether the rock once had a plaque attached to it, or whether it always rested on the ground in front of it. What is for certain is that the 1988 tablet does not resemble the one local activist Sarkis Tatevosjan screwed to the rock after moving the stone from Rääsa to his lot in Kiviõli.

Such stones, pillars, and obelisks to mark Soviet rule were abundant in village councils and towns during Soviet times. How many could there have been? Mäesalu said corresponding figures are unknown. It is possible such monuments numbered in the hundreds. They were not listed in a single register during the Soviet era. „Monuments were installed to honor anniversaries,“ Mäesalu explained.

Existing monuments were counted in the 1990s, with only burial states placed under protection. The Küttejõu district in Kiviõli is home to a II World War brotherhood-in-arms mass grave.

Mäesalu said it was recommended the state place the Bronze Soldier monument in Tõnismäe under protection as an artistic monument in the late 1990s as well; however, it was not done. Today the monument is located in the Defense Forces Cemetery and is under protection as one part of it.

The fates of various rocks like the one from Rääsa village vary. When Soviet-era monuments were counted in the late 1990s, authorities told locals there is no need to demolish them. „In some places tablets attached to rocks were taken to the local museum,“ the chief inspector said. „In others they were quietly removed from their original location.“

Statues of Kingissepp and Lenin were taken down at the beginning of the 1990s and are located behind the history museum in Maarjamäe. Mäesalu said that an exhibition displaying their „heads“ will soon be opened.

Of Soviet monuments, placing the Maarjamäe Memorial under heritage conservation is currently being considered as architecture historians hold it to be the best landscape history monument.

Read other news on the city site of Tallin.

postimees
monuments protection graves HISTORY MONUMENT
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
1 view in december
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
Political news portal Politico published its list of the most influential people in Europe next year last week, with fifth place going to Estonia’s cybersecurity ambassador Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar. Tiirmaa-Klaar takes her place in between well-known Europeans, after Secretary General of the European Commission Martin Selmayr and in front of Ukrainian presidential hopeful Yulia Tymoshenko. Politico believes Italy’s populist interior minister Matteo Salvini will...
Society
Representatives of the transport ministries of the Baltic states, Finland and Poland who met in Tallinn on Monday were of differing opinions regarding whether to remain in summer or winter time once the practice of changing the clocks twice per year comes to an end. A recent survey indicates that more than half of Estonians would prefer permanent summer time. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Poland jointly acknowledged that the agreement to end the...
Society
Ida-Viru Central Hospital is having trouble with patients not showing up to scheduled specialist appointments. To combat this issue, beginning next year, the hospital will start charging visit fees for no-show appointments as well. Last year, patients at Ida-Viru Central Hospital failed to show up for scheduled appointments a total of nearly 9,500 times, accounting for some 5% of all hospital visits, reported ETV news broadcast Aktuaalne kaamera. "Patients...
Society
Tallinn city government finds that it is not reasonable to relocate the Tallinn Bus Station to the Ülemiste district near Tallinn Airport and that it should be left in its current location on Lastekodu Street. In connection with the preparation of an architectural idea competition and the drawing up of a detailed plan for the Ülemiste terminal in the framework of the Rail Baltic railway project, the city is drawing the attention of the Ministry of Economic...
Society
A criminal investigation has been launched into the Medita Clinic, one of the largest private sector bidders in public procurement tenders in the health sector in Estonia. The Northern District Prosecutor's Office initiated the investigation in accordance with the Penal Code section concerning the transmission of false information, according to ETV investigative show Pealtnägija. The Medita Clinic was the largest private provider of specialist medical care...
Society
The Tax and Customs Board (MTA) has signed an agreement with Online accommodation and hospitality marketplace Airbnb which enables hosts to automatically report earnings. The MTA and Airbnb held a joint press conference on Wednesday, announcing the agreement's signing as well as the new system and its rationale. The main premise, according to MTA deputy director Rivo Reitmann, is to keep things simple, meaning that Airbnb hosts who declare their income in...
Society
Luminor notified its clients that as of 1 January, the bank will be closing the accounts of Estonian e-residents that fail to fulfil due diligence. Hannes Oja, head of Anti-Money Laundering at Luminor Estonia, said that based on the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act, banks are required to update the data of all of their customers, writes daily Eesti Päevaleht (EPL). As a result, all existing clients have to do so themselves on a regul...
Society
The Russian Embassy in Tallinn on Tuesday published a statement criticising the statement in support of Ukraine adopted by the Riigikogu on Monday. Commenting on the statement with which the Riigikogu on Monday condemned the attack on Ukrainian vessels in the Kerch Strait, the Russian Embassy referenced the famous quote by Roman statesman Cato the Elder, who used to conclude his speeches in the Senate by saying, "Furthermore, I consider that Carthage must...
Society
A widely-read travel magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, has declared the Christmas market in Tallinn as one of the most charming in Europe. “Why we love it: In addition to Estonian Christmas dishes like black pudding and sour cabbage (it’s better than it sounds, we swear), Tallinn’s market in the Town Hall Square also has a Santa who arrives by reindeer-pulled sleigh,” the magazine says. “The highlight, though, is its Christmas tree, which the city has been pu...