Paper: Two Narva street names could be changed under proposed amendment

ERR's Jüri Nikolajev being presented street name signs by President Kersti Kaljulaid in Narva. November 2018. Source: Office of the President

Five MPs on Monday submitted a bill proposing amendments to the Place Names Act according to which a person's name could not be used as a commemorative name if that person has acted against the establishment of the Republic of Estonia, the existence of the constitutional order or the reestablishment of Estonian independence.

According to the bill, which was submitted by Reform MPs Urmas Kruuse, Eerik-Niiles Kross and Kaja Kallas and Isamaa MPs Tarmo Kruusimäe and Ülar Saaremäe, within 60 days of the amendment entering into force, the Place Names Board would submit proposals to make changes to unsuitable place names to the relevant minister — currently Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center) — who in turn would issue an order to bring the names into compliance by no later than 30 days after the Place Names Board's proposals had been received, writes daily Postimees (link in Estonian).  

While the law currently already does not allow for place names incompatible with Estonian history and cultural history, it lacks a clear mechanism for the identification and changing of such names, the letter of explanation accompanying the bill states.

Kross, one of the MPs behind the bill, said that the current initiative was motivated primarily by Narva's decades-long inability to get two street names changed that honor Estonians who worked for Soviet powers — Albert-August Tiimann and Ants Dauman — but added that there may be more unsuitable names elsewhere in the country as well.

Narva Mayor Aleksei Jevgrafov has been the subject of public criticism for the city's lack of action on the matter.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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