Regional daily: Knocked-over Soviet-era monument now in warehouse

A Soviet-era memorial in Põhja-Sakala (photo is illustrative, this is the monument at Võhma).
A Soviet-era memorial in Põhja-Sakala (photo is illustrative, this is the monument at Võhma). Source: Põhja-Sakala Municipal government

A Soviet-era monument knocked over late on Saturday in a Viljandi County village is currently being stored in a warehouse, while both its future fate and the identities of those who removed it are as yet unknown, regional daily Sakala reports.

Põhja-Sakala Deputy Mayor Kadri Linder (Ühine Tee electoral list) said that the incident, in the village of Suure-Jaani, had come as a surprise, since the area is normally calm and law-abiding, while a Police and Border Guard (PPA) spokesperson concurred that such things were unusual for the area, adding that an investigation is ongoing into the incident, which saw the headstone of the monument toppled by persons unknown (link in Estonian).

Linder said that the Ministry of Defense agrees with the municipality's proposal to remove Soviet-era monuments to cemeteries, though since similar incidents will be happening nationwide, in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the removal and relocation of several high-profile monuments, the process is likely to take time.

Linder added that since the ministry had given its assent to the idea of legally moving monuments to cemeteries, there was no need to put the headstone back atop the plinth.

The original Sakala article (in Estonian) is here.

Suure-Jaani was formerly a municipality in its own right, but became a part of Põhja-Sakala (North Sakala) Municipality following the 2017 reorganization of local authorities.

Current law has it that if a Soviet-era monument has human remains appended to it as an integral part of the site, the matter is for the state to rule on, via, the War Graves Committee, itself under the defense ministry's remit, while if there are no graves or human remains nearby, the matter is one for local government.

Gray areas have arisen if, for instance, it is not clear if there are human remains interred at a site or not, or, as in the case of the Narva tank monument, the local authority fudges the issue – in the case of Narva the state had to step in and remove and relocate the tank, to a museum in another part of the country.

Sakala is a regional daily published by the Postimees Group.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Sakala

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