Minister Aab calls for controversial Narva streets to be renamed

Ants Daumani tänav in Narva.
Ants Daumani tänav in Narva. Source: ERR

Based on a study by the University of Tartu, Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center) sent a letter to the Narva City Government, claiming two streets named after Ants Dauman and Albert-August Tiimann are inappropriate to Estonian history and culture and should be renamed as soon as possible.

ERR News wrote on June 10 that five Reform and Isamaa MPs 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).

Aab wrote in his letter to Narva officials on Tuesday that the Place Names Act of Estonia states any incompatibilities regarding Estonian history and culture must be ruled out when naming places. He noted that both Dauman and Tiimann worked against the Republic of Estonia and its people.

He noted that according to the law, the names of the two streets after controversial figures should be changed because they are in clear contradiction with the Place Names Act.

Aab's statements were also confirmed by Tõnu Tannberg, professor of Estonian History at the University of Tartu and Valdur Ohmann, head specialist of the Research and Publishing bureau of the National Archives of Estonia.

A communist mass murderer

Ohmann drafted a statement at the request of the University of Tartu which explains that Ants Dauman was a bolshevik politician fighting for the Red Army in the Estonian War of Independence (1918-1920).

Dauman was born in 1885 in Latvia and was elected mayor of Narva in 1917 after the February Revolution. He also served as chairman of Narva city council, chariman of the Narva Military Revolutionary Committee and the Narva Council of Worker's Deputies.

Additionally, he was a commander of the Red Army's cavalry and a war commissary. Dauman died in the Polish-Soviet War in 1920.

Ohmann writes that there is no clear reasoning for why a street in Narva was named after Dauman in 1983.

According to Ohmann, Albert-August Tiimann was a communist who, among many things, led repressions directed at local civilians. He was born in Narva in 1889 and was a leading figure among local communists and the local Executive Committe of the Soviet Union.

Documents assessed by Ohmann show that Tiimann saw 208 people being deprived of liberty with 34 of those 208 executed. Many of them were accused of crimes but many were closely related to anti-Soviet White Army formations, who were taken hostage.

Ohmann specifically noted the executions of two Narva orthodox clergies in his explanation of Tiimann. Tiimann died in prison in 1942 and a street was named after him in Narva in 1974.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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