Asko Kivinuk, head of the Government Office's monuments working group, said on the "Vikerhommik" morning radio show that Estonia has already mapped out 265 Soviet monuments, instead of the initial figure of 130, and that it could grow to over 300.
"We started with knowledge of 130 Soviet monuments almost all of which were war graves. As of yesterday, we had mapped out 265 Soviet monuments, including war graves, monuments and all manner of memorial stones. They are located all over Estonia. I believe we will end up with more than 300," Kivinuk said.
"We have evaluated 231 of them in terms of suitability. Around 50 objects have been found by art scholars and historians to be neutral and to lack direct Soviet insignia. These are suitable grave markers. The only remaining question is whether their location is also suitable, which matter is being addressed by the War Graves Committee," Kivinuk remarked.
"We will be providing an assessment of the full background and communicating our position," he added.
Kivinuk said that the committee has also discussed the suitability of the Maarjamäe Monument. "It is this committee's position that, at minimum, the plaques commemorating Red Army units should be removed, while the future of the memorial requires deeper involvement and debate. We cannot decree any decision here."
Talking about the budget of the monuments removal effort, Kivinuk had no details.
"The total budget will become clear once we map all monuments, decide what should be kept and what needs to be removed. We know the cost of neutral grave markers that can be used to designate war graves. These estimates need to be added up, which is when we will have an idea of the total budget. But it will not be five figures," Kivinuk hinted.
The government will be removing eight monuments bearing occupation insignia from state land this week.
Editor: Marcus Turovski