New online exhibition on Red Army terror in Estonia post-WWII

The online portal Communist Crimes is available in Estonian, English and Russian.
The online portal Communist Crimes is available in Estonian, English and Russian. Source:

The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory (Eesti Mälu Instituut) in cooperation with the National Library of Estonia (Eesti Rahvusraamatukogu) has compiled an interactive exhibition, called "The 'Liberator' Arrived".

The exhibition is in English, Russian and Estonian and can be seen here, a press release by the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory wrote.

The viewer gets an introduction to life in Estonia during the period of 1944-1945, when the country had fallen under the occupation of the Red Army yet again. The contradiction between Soviet propaganda and reality was outrageous. The exhibition is based on official documents of the era that are compared to Soviet propaganda posters,

Member of Board of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory Meelis Maripuu said that it is important to remember that the end of World War Two in Europe 75 years ago did not mean liberation for many European nations; instead, they fell under the control of a new conqueror.

"The Red Army's invasion in Estonia and the reoccupation of the country in 1944 was a catastrophe not only in light of international law but also because it meant that our people fell victim to the uncontrollable terror of Red Army soldiers and officers," Maripuu said.

Peeter Kaasik, curator of the exhibition and senior researcher at the institute, said that there are plenty of documents on this topic in the archives. The lawlessness of Red Army soldiers and officers, as well as direct violence against defenseless civilians, reflects in the reports of communist functionaries, who themselves felt that they were unable to control the situation.

"The creation of the myth of a liberator immediately after the reoccupation of Estonia was an important task for Soviet propaganda, because it aimed to strengthen the legitimacy of its own power. It has to be said that the creation of this myth was unsuccessful because actual contact with Red Army soldiers often resulted in a loss of property, health, or life for civilians. Estonians understood that a new violent occupation had been established, and not that they had been liberated," Kaasik said.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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