Tartu plans to rename Victory Bridge
Tartu City Council is discussing changing the name of Victory Bridge (Võidu sild) saying it gives the wrong signals in the current situation. The bridge was named in honor of the 20th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War in 1965 by the Soviet authorities.
The request was first discussed by Isamaa last year and added to the coalition agreement during negotiations last autumn.
The issue was raised again by council chairman Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) when a statement of support for Ukraine was agreed this week. Now the majority of the council believes the name should be changed.
"What marks the victory in the Great Patriotic War is by no means a victory for the Estonian people and many other nations, it marked the beginning of a great and brutal occupation. So this is not our victory to celebrate," Lukas said.
The Great Patriotic War is known as the Second World War outside of Russia.
Semiotician Tiit Remm said a new name sound be both strong and memorable because currently the names of most Tartu bridges are not widely used.
He said city space should also provoke discussion.
"If we don't have any problematic names in the city, then when walking around the city with a child, we can't discuss why the Victory Bridge is here," Remm said.
Tartu residents ERR spoke with were not overly concerned about the name of the bridge. One, Ervin, said it is not necessary to remove all the names associated with Russian culture from the city.
Lukas said he does not think the names of other buildings or streets need to change.
A new name competition for the bridge will open next week.
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Editor: Helen Wright