A Soviet-era monument which had stood on the shores of Lake Viljandi (Viljandi järv) for over 70 years was removed from its site early on Wednesday morning, regional daily Sakala reports.
Mayor of Viljandi Madis Timpson said of the Järveotsa obelisk that: "We had no plan to do it secretly and in the dark," adding that the Wednesday morning – the work started around 6 a.m. and was completed by 8 a.m. – was the optimum time for the staff employed with the task and not the result of fears over any potential opposition or disruption to the move, Sakala reports (link in Estonian).
Sakala had asked Timpson the preceding day whether and when the obelisk, which was adorned with Soviet symbols such as the hammer and sickle and required heavy plant to knock it down in sections, would be removed, he gave a deadline of the end of this month, later saying that he had been in Latvia at the time and was unsure over the planned schedule, which was in any case a matter for the city authority's administrative staff.
The obelisk is not the only such edifice in the region facing removal or alteration – another nearby monument will likely have its current inscriptions removed, while the presence of human remains at that site require a different approach, including excavations which started this week.
One key difference with the obelisk is that it was deliberately designed and sited so as to be visible at long distances, the mayor said.
The original Sakala piece is here.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has brought the issue of Soviet monuments, memorials, statues, war graves and even small building details back into focus, and work has been ongoing since before summer to remove, relocate or alter such edifices.
Sakala is published by the Postimees Group.
Editor: Andrew Whyte