Ilves: Memorial to Victims of Communism Ideally Sited Away from Controversial Location
President Toomas Hendrik Ilves thinks a memorial to victims of communism certainly necessary but does not consider the former site of a Soviet monument the best location for it.
President Ilves said that the number of victims of war and occupations in Estonia makes it essential to establish a memorial to the victims, uudised.err.ee reported.
According to the president, the best location for the memorial, both visually as well as architecturally, would be Hirvepark, a park where the first pro-independence rallies took place in the late 1980s, when Estonia was still part of the Soviet Union.
Representatives of Memento, an organization of former dissidents and others who suffered under the communist regime, have submitted their vision of a proposed future memorial to victims of totalitarianism. The group favors the city center site formerly occupied by a controversial Soviet monument, the so-called Bronze Soldier.
According to Ilves, placing the memorial on the site where the Bronze Soldier once stood would not be wise. He recalled how replacing memorials and holy sites with new ones has been common throughout history. “I am not in favor of it,” Ilves said.
The removal of the Soviet memorial in 2007 sparked riots in the capital, leaving 156 injured, including more than 20 police officers. More than 1,000 people were detained and numerous stores, offices and homes were damaged.
Ilves was speaking at an official presentation of a compliation of his speeches translated into Russian, held at the Russian Secondary School of Central Tallinn on Monday.