Türi Municipality mulling future of Soviet monument, war graves

Türi Municipality in Järva County is discussing the future of its Soviet-era Second World War monument and the location of Red Army soldiers' remains.

Earlier this week the City of Tartu said it wants to dismantle the Soviet-era monument to fallen soldiers in Estonia's second-biggest city. Now discussions about other monuments have started to arise.

Järva County Museum research director and historian Ründo Mülts told ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Wednesday that the majority of Soviet monuments in Järva County are in cemeteries.

However, there is one exception, a bronze soldier erected in memory of the fallen in 1986 which is in a complex with between 50-80 Red Army soldiers' graves and is close to the entrance of the city.

"The monument was built to commemorate the Soviet soldiers who died in the summer of 1941, who were brought here during the battles of the Second World War with the Germans. Those who are here referred to as heroes and liberators but also have quite a lot of blood on their hands, have caused Estonian deaths," he said.

Mülts believes there should be a sign explaining the history and context of the complex so visitors can fully understand the area and not be put off by a monument to former occupiers. The soldiers' remains should also be reburied in a cemetery.

The municipality is now approaching the Ministry of Defense's War Graves Committee to discuss the suitability of the graves' location, Türi mayor Elar Niglas told AK.  

"The War Graves Protection Act makes it clear what unsuitable locations are, but the War Graves Commission makes the final decision. We can't do that, but we can make a proposal to discuss it," he said.

Niglas said he does not consider the graves' current location to be "reasonable".

"Obviously, the remains should be reburied and then the tombstones should be moved. The cemetery is the right place for the fallen to rest in peace," he said.

Since Russia launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine on February 24, several countries formerly occupied by the Soviet Union have been discussing what to do with memorials and monuments.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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