Victims of communism museum to stay in Patarei after redevelopment

Communism is a Prison exhibition at Patarei Prison.
Communism is a Prison exhibition at Patarei Prison. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The state will pay to rent space for the International Museum for the Victims of Communism in Patarei Sea Fortress after it has been redeveloped, ERR reported on Friday.

Earlier this week it was announced that entrepreneur Urmas Sõõrumaa had put in the sole bid for the sea fortress complex during an auction, offering slightly more than the €4.5 million starting price. If his bid is accepted the former prison will be turned into offices, a hotel, and retail space. As part of the sale, it obligated the buyer to allocate space to the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory who run the museum.

At the moment, the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory has 1,000 square meters of Patarei, which is leased from Riigi Kinnisvara AS (RKAS), for the museum.

Sergei Metlev, head of communication and cooperation at the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, told ERR the cost of displaying and furnishing the future museum will be covered by the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, but that the owner must first repair the building.

The new lease agreement will be made with the cooperation of the Ministry of Justice, which is the state's representative on the issue.

 "We sincerely welcome the Urmas Sõõrumaa-owned company to purchase the Patarei. I believe we will find mutual understanding in preserving our historic heritage and exhibiting it to visitors around the world. We are looking forward to the end of the sales process to further clarify the developer's future plans," said member of the institute's board Meelis Maripuu.

Until the construction of the Patarei complex begins, the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory has opened a temporary exhibition area "Communism is a Prison" in the eastern wing of the building, which was visited by more than 36,000 people last summer.

The museum is planned to be an approximately 5,000 square meter (65,000 square foot) area in the eastern part of the building and will include authentic prison cells and an execution chamber.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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