Communism victims' memorial used as backdrop to apparent photoshoot

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The black BMW and one of its occupants spotted at the communism memorial Thursday. Source: Jaak Visnap

The memorial to the victims of communism in Tallinn was put to a use far from its original intention Thursday evening after a driver parked their car at the site. An individual was spotted apparently taking photos of the scene.

"Although no physical damage was done to the monument, such behavior is not acceptable, as it offended the feelings of many people," Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) East Harju-County district spokesperson Marili Tammiste told ERR Friday.

The car, a black BMW (see photo), was parked on the walkway between the two walls which make up the bulk of the monument, and which are inscribed with the names of over 20,000 people slaughtered during the various waves of Red Terror experienced during Estonia's occupation by the Soviet Union, starting in 1940.

ERR reported that the vehicle's occupants took snaps and appeared to be having a fun time, and were observed and photographed by passers-by.

Marili Tammiste said that proceedings are underway in line with the relevant section of the penal code.

Sergei Metlev of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory (Eesti Mälu Instituut), which administers the site, told ERR he had filed the offense complaint with the PPA, adding that such a brazen display of abuse had not been seen there up until now.

Past, minor incidents at the memorial, which was opened in 2018 and is located in the Pirita district of Tallinn, have included an apparent scratching of the memorial's wall, which investigations revealed to have been done by a child, and without malice. More recently, controversy has blighted plans to develop a football training field to be used by top-flight team FC Levadia close to the memorial.

Any witnesses in the hunt for the black BMW in a city whose roads could be fairly called quite well-stocked with such motors, and its driver and passenger(s), can contact Sergei Dõmša at the PPA by email here.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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