Older part of Maarjamäe Memorial area presents a public danger

Old part of Maarjamäe Memorial.
Old part of Maarjamäe Memorial. Source: ERR

A Soviet-era war memorial close to the new Maarjamäe Memorial to the Victims of Communism now presents a public hazard as it is becoming more dilapidated.

The Maarjamäe memorial stands on Pirita Road, between the Lasnamäe ridge and Tallinn Bay. It was erected to tcommemorate those who had fallen defending the Soviet Union in World War Two.

The memorial is made up of both architectural and landscaping elements. At its center stands a 35-meter obelisk, but the ensemble also includes the graves of the crews of the Avtroil and Spartak minesweepers, dolomite-lined walls, grass-covered slopes, the pathways between them and a bronze sculpture of a flock of birds.

A white flag was raised by unknown individuals on Monday evening, July 28, at the older memorial, with "SOS, needs fixing" was written on it. Tallinn Municipal Police took the flag down.

Deputy mayor of Tallinn Andrei Novikov (Center) told ETV current affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" that the city of Tallinn can't do anything with the memorial, because the city only owns the obelisk and the monument of hands holding a flame. The rest of the memorial is situated on unreformed state land and the fate of the memorial is to be decided by the government.

"We have agreed to take the whole complex into our accounting if the current owner fixes it first or gives the money to the city to fix it. The State Real Estate firm (RKAS) has evaluated the memorial and the magnitude of fixing the complex is over €3 million," Novikov explained.

He added that renovating it will probably take much more money because nobody knows, which surprises can occur when renovating.

The memorial was finished in several stages. In 1960, the Baltic Fleet's obelisk (fleet of the Russian Navy in the Baltic Sea) was finished, in 1975, the rest of the memorial was opened.

Back then, critics thought that the idea of the memorial is confusing. The next and even more grand part was supposed to reflect the idea but it was left undone because the singing revolution happened.

Novikov said that the government hasn't yet agreed on what to do with the memorial.

"There used to be an opinion that it should be demolished, then to give it to the city and then to leave to themselves, but the fact is that fixing the complex is important because of safety and the owner is obligated to ensure safety," Novikov said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa), said that the current government hasn't discussed the faith of the memorial. In his opinion, safety should be ensured and the lawn should be mowed.

"There are two options - it stays in the hands of the state or it is given to the city. We are definitely not looking at it with great enthusiasm or as an extremely cultural and historical memorial. I don't think that the taxpayers should spend their money to fix it," Reinsalu said.

The City of Tallinn turned to the government in March to decide on the future of this memorial.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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