Hiiumaa residents question future of Soviet statue
Hiiumaa residents are discussing the fate of the island's Soviet-era statue known as "Kivi Jüri" in Kärdla, but the authorities say there are no plans to relocate it.
In light of discussions about relocating Soviet monuments and war graves taking place elsewhere across Estonia, the island's residents have taken to social media to question the fate of "Kivi Jüri", Thursday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.
The granite sculpture of a soldier's head was erected in 1966 and bears the inscription "To the heroes of the defense battles of Hiiumaa 1941" commemorating the year when the Germans captured the island from the Red Army.
SDE mayor Hergo Tasuja told ERR that today the monument is nothing more than a landmark for locals and nobody lays flowers or uses it to glorify the occupation. There are no graves located nearby.
The issue has been discussed by the council, but it was agreed there are more important things to deal with.
"Today we are not working on moving the statue, rather we are of the opinion that history must be known, history must be explained, we must remember, Estonia's history has been complicated," he said.
Tasuju said the inscription does not solely refer to Soviet soldiers.
"It is dedicated to all the dead, not to the soldiers of one side. It is known that Estonians, either by their own will or often under the force of circumstances, had to put on one or the other uniform and had no choice on whose side they would fight," he told ERR.
However, Aivar Viidik, chairman of the Reform Party's Hiiumaa faction, said the issue may need to be discussed further in the future. The party thinks the statue could be relocated to Hiiumaa Military Museum.
"But this transfer cannot happen as a decision of the faction, so to speak. In my and our opinion, it is necessary to discuss this with the people of Kärdla," he said.
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Editor: Helen Wright