Tallinn wants to tidy up Maarjamäe Memorial

Pedestrians on Pirita tee with the Maarjamäe Memorial in the background.
Pedestrians on Pirita tee with the Maarjamäe Memorial in the background. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The City of Tallinn wants to take over the dilapidated Maarjamäe memorial and tidy it up. Although there is no opposition from the Ministry of the Environment, the government has not reached a decision on the allocation of land.

Deputy mayor of Tallinn Vladimir Svet (Center) told ERR the site of the Soviet-era memorial belongs to both Tallinn and the state. The city wants to tidy up this area and the monument in the future.

Although the memorial itself has a complicated history, Svet said it is in the city's interest to link it to re-independent Estonia: "On the one hand, it was built during the Soviet era, but at the same time by Estonian landscape architects."

Svet said nothing suggests the Ministry of the Environment has substantial arguments against the proposal. He believes the delay is due to governments changing frequently, the coronavirus and energy crises.

Communism memorial. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

He hoped the government will make a decision to give the entire area to the city.

"We want to conserve it so that it doesn't fall apart," Svet said, which would be the first step in tidying up the memorial. In addition, a rainwater system and a well-thought-out lighting system should be installed. Plaques should also be added to explain the history of the site.

Secondly, Svet believes it is important to have a substantive discussion about whether or not to bring new life to the memorial. "We do not want to build something," he emphasized, adding that he was primarily considering the possibility of holding musical events there.

Mälupaigad, nagu Maarjamäe memoriaal, on antropoloogi sõnul kohad, mis kujundavad kogukonna identiteeti. Autor/allikas: Siim Lõvi /ERR

However, Svet said these discussions must be cautious and held with the memorial's creators and experts.

The Maarjamäe memorial consists of a 35-meter obelisk, eternal fire and dolomite hand statues. It is controversial in Estonia as it is dedicated to those who were killed defending the Soviet Union during the Second World War.

In addition to the memorial, the Maarjamäe Memorial to the Victims of Communism was opened in 2018.

Maarjamäe memoriaal Autor/allikas: Siim Lõvi /ERR


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Editor: Roberta Vaino, Helen Wright

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