The Defense Ministry has proposed using the former Patarei Prison in Tallinn as the site of a museum dedicated to the victims of crimes against humanity committed by communist regimes.
Earlier this month, the Ministry of Interior proposed relocating the Internal Security Museum to Patarei, but said it could only afford to do so if other museums would share the space and costs. The Defense Ministry has now come on board.
In addition to a communist crimes museum - founding of which is in the government's development program - an Estonian War Museum, police, security police and firefighting museums have also been suggested for the site, reported Postimees.
In a letter to the State Real Estate company, Defense Minister Urmas Reinsalu suggested that the Patarei complex also include catering services and a creative incubator. "The Defense Ministry believes that value can be given to the Patarei complex by developing it into a historical and military complex that is unique in Estonia and the Nordic countries; it will open up the sea to the city, clean up the urban space and improve the seaside city's image," Reinsalu wrote.
The minister said the national budget would apparently not have money for such a project in the next few years.
Patarei was put on public auction this spring at a starting bid of 3 million euros, but no buyers were found by June, when the auction ended. State Real Estate spokesman Madis Idnurm said his agency plans to sell the property this year, but that it is first asking for takers from the public sector.
Originally a naval fortress established by Peter the Great in 1840, the complex was turned into a prison in 1920 and remained so until it was finally closed in 2002.