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History buffs reenact War of Independence battle in Haapsalu

Enactment of War of Independence battle in Haapsalu.
Enactment of War of Independence battle in Haapsalu. Source: ERR

The Military Equipment Museum of Saaremaa hosted military history clubs from Estonia and Latvia in the courtyard of the Haapsalu Castle to reenact a battle between the Red Army and the Estonian Kuperjanovi Battalion.

While military history clubs from Russia and Belarus used to participate in Estonian reenactments before the coronavirus crisis, the pandemic has forced clubs to make do with fewer participants.

Head of the museum Margus Sinimets said that the battle was not a reenactment of a particular Estonian War of Independence event but a representative episode of what a battle between Estonians and the Red Army near Pskov might have looked like in 1919.

Estonian military history clubs have hosted visitors from Latvia during the pandemic, while the participation of enthusiasts from several other countries has for the past year and half been obstructed by Covid restrictions.

"It has been difficult as we have traditionally hosted a lot of guest performers from Russia and Belarus, while these options are off the table now. It is hard because there is just so few of us," Sinimets said.

He added that the Military Equipment Museum of Saaremaa has nevertheless managed to realize its annual plan.

Participating in reenactment battles is motivated by taking an interest in history that simply going to the museum no longer satisfies.

"Because it concerns a part of history that interests me and I'm a member of the military equipment museum, it is somewhat inevitable. It also provides insight into how these things really worked on top of just examining exhibits in a museum," member of the society Andres Jaanisoo said.

Sinimets said that procuring historically accurate equipment can be very challenging depending on the time period.

"Making historically accurate Estonian War of Independence uniforms is the greatest challenge as they need to be custom made by a tailor. There is a wide selection available as concerns the rest, Czarist army uniforms or WWII equipment, that you can order from anywhere in the world depending on what you can afford," he said.

Battle between Estonians and the Red Army reenacted in Haapsalu. (Video in Estonian)

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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