Monument for Päts delayed, lack of granite rock big enough a reason

The "Head of State" design of the Konstantin Päts memorial. Source: Tallinn Urban Planning Department

Trivimi Velliste, head of the Konstantin Päts Museum, turned to the Ministry of Justice to ask for an extension of the grant contract for the monument for Konstantin Päts as the development has been delayed.

Last summer, a jury decided that a design by Toivo Tammik and Vergo Vernik called "Head of State" was to be erected behind the Estonian National Opera in Tallinn, honoring the legacy of Konstantin Päts, the first president of Estonia (1938-1940).

The architectural planning and artistic execution of the monument however have turned out to be more complicated than expected, Velliste noted. "The authors of the design have found out that there is no granite rock in Estonia that is sufficiently sized and of high enough quality. It needs to be brought in, which is more expensive and time-consuming," Velliste wrote in a letter to the justice ministry.

The state procurement was also delayed. The authors of the monument were only just issued a document stating that their tender is declared compliant and successful, on January 25.

"That the procurement took such a long time is likely explained by two factors: Firstly, the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic and secondly, the reorganization of the relevant subdepartments of Tallinn City Government," the Konstantin Päts Museum chair penned.

Regardless of the delays, the hope is for the monument to be opened formally by the end of the year.

"Considering the longer course of the procurement, the monument's authors have questioned the desire of NGO Konstantin Päts Museum in this regard. The organization is following developments attentively and is doing all it can to open the memorial to president Konstantin Päts this year," Velliste confirmed.

The design competition for the Päts monument took place from December 2019 to April 2020. 24 ideas were submitted to the competition, of which 23 qualified for the jury's evaluation.

The design was recepient to much criticism with architectural historian and rector of the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) Mart Kalm saying the winning work was "not a great achievement from the point of view of Estonian art".

"I have lost hope that the historically political monument could take Estonian art and architecture forward in seven-league boot-steps. This is not the case here, but we could also say that there is nothing so embarrassing about this monument that it has to be taken away," Kalm said in an interview to ERR.

Päts was the first president of the Republic of Estonia (1938–1940). He is considered to be the most remarkable politician of the pre-war Estonian Republic. He repeatedly led Estonian governments including during the most difficult time the state faced – the beginning of the War of Independence. He died in Siberia in 1956 after being deported by the Soviets.



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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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