Victims of communism disagree with Museum of Occupations name change ({{commentsTotal}})

Estonian Museum of Occupations, Tallinn
Estonian Museum of Occupations, Tallinn Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

“Vabamu”, to be adopted in 2018, irritates the organizations of the victims of communism. In the opinion of their representative union, Memento, the state should take over the museum, and the composition of its supervisory board should be changed.

Memento’s chairman, Leo Õispuu, said to ERR that the museum should have consulted them before deciding to change the name. "Vabamu" was too abstract, he said, and if the name needed changing at all, Memento would suggest making it the “Museum of Communist Crimes.”

Õispuu also said that the opinion of the people couldn’t be ignored. Memento also disagrees with the current composition of the supervisory board of the Kistler-Ritso Foundation, which has financed the museum so far. “We don’t know these individuals. They’re businessmen, sponsors,” Õispuu said.

Approached by ETV for comment, Rein Veidemann, professor at the University of Tallinn, said that the name name suggested by Memento would narrow the museum’s focus too much. In the 1980s, Veidemann was an editor with literary magazines Looming and Vikerkaar, the latter of which played an important role in the Singing Revolution.

A narrower focus would screen out the German occupation, Veidemann said. He suggested to instead make the name “Museum of Occupations and Resistance”, as the planned extension of the exposition was closely connected to the resistance movements that eventually led to freedom.

Minister of Culture Indrek Saar (SDE) said that the state’s part in the support of the museum had been small, since the museum had been funded privately. He didn’t consider it appropriate for the state to step in and spend millions taking it over, and didn’t see why a private owner should consider even taking up negotiations like that.

The Museum of Occupations will become “Vabamu” after works to extend its exposition are completed. The change is planned for 2018.

Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn