Fate of Maarjamäe Memorial likely to remain up to next government

Maarjamäe Memorial in Tallinn.
Maarjamäe Memorial in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Ministry of Culture still wants to merge the Maarjamäe Memorial complex located east of Tallinn's city center with the Estonian History Museum, but the current government lacks a political agreement on the matter, likely leaving the fate of the Soviet-era memorial up to the next Estonian government to decide.

The Government Office finished drawing up two memorandums about the Maarjamäe Memorial for the cabinet this week which provided for the remediation of the memorial. Minister of Culture Piret Hartman (SDE) acknowledged that the memos were written a long time ago and do not respond to the current Reform-Isamaa-SDE coalition agreement.

"The government hasn't made an agreement regarding what will become of it," Hartman said. "[Coalition] partners have different ideas — who wants to take it down, who wants to change it. We at the Ministry of Culture and in the Social Democratic Party want it to go under [the control of] the History Museum. As no agreement exists, we won't be moving forward with it, with the exception of nationalization, regarding which an agreement exists. Everything else, I believe, will be added to the agenda once a new coalition convenes in March."

The Maarjamäe Memorial is located largely on unreformed state land, which is under the management of the Ministry of the Environment, due to which the fate of the memorial is up to the government to decide. The obelisk, sculptures and the cliffside portion of the land belong to the City of Tallinn.

"Perceptions differ, and as there are currently plenty of other concerns as well that need to be resolved, this currently isn't the right time or place to discuss this," the minister added.

Part of the memorandum was dedicated to the remediation of the memorial, which is in bad shape, in order to prevent it from continuing to deteriorate. "But even this would require significant resources and a state budget decision," Hartman said.

She noted that the nationalization of the property can move forward without an agreement regarding the ultimate fate of the memorial itself.

The 2023 Riigikogu elections, in which all of the Estonian parliament's 101 seats are up for election, will be held on Sunday, March 5.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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