Narva Museum hangs poster facing Russia depicting Putin as war criminal

{{1683617640000 | amCalendar}}
Narva Castle on May 9, 2023.
Narva Castle on May 9, 2023. Source: Dmitri Fedotkin/ERR

On Tuesday morning, the Narva Museum hung a poster depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin as a war criminal on the Russian side of the Narva Fortress wall.

The poster on the wall of the Hermann Fortress on the Narva River is visible from Ivangorod, Dmitry Fedotkin, an ERR correspondent in Narva, said.

"This is a planned installation by the museum and the Propastop group that will be on exhibit for a few days. It serves as a clear reminder that there is a border here in Narva. The poster is hung on a wall with the Estonian flag," Maria Smorzhevskih-Smirnova, museum director, told ERR's Russian language portal on Tuesday.

"This location [of the poster] is right across the river from where the Ivangorod stage is built. We need to remember that there is a full-scale war waged by Putin right next to us. We felt it necessary to display this installation as a reminder that everything has a price," she said.

Nonetheless, the director of the museum said doing so on "such a sad and momentous day of victory over fascism" was difficult.

The goal of the action, according to the organizers, is to fight manipulation and misinformation in Russian media.

Photos of the sign on the castle wall are uploaded on the museum's social media with the caption "This is the border!"

The message reminds us that today's war unleashed by Russia is a war crime.

On May 9, Russia commemorates the anniversary of its victory over Nazi Germany during World War II with a concert near the fortress walls of Ivangorod. The stage is visible from the Narva river promenade.

Raik and Jevgrafov disagreed on the poster

Aleksei Yevgrafov (Center) said this is not the best action and it is staged on the wrong day. "The Russians in Ivangorod are building a stage, and we in Narva are hanging a poster in response. It does not make anyone look good," the opposition councilman, said.

"It looks like a childish rivalry; it is not appropriate for the Narva Museum, a municipal and state institution, to do so on May 9, the day when many Narva residents commemorate the defeat of Nazism and fascism. It is absolutely blasphemous to tie Putin to this event. This man has nothing to do with the holy holiday and this victory," Yevgrafov told ERR's Russian-language news portal

He said that such an poster could be displayed on another day. "It would be more appropriate, as it reflects the current position of the Estonian government and, in my opinion, would provoke less emotions."

Narva Mayor Katri Raik (SDE) said that in the context of international events it is nothing reprehensible. "Such a poster must be coordinated with the building's proprietor, the Narva Museum. It is located near the state border, so the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) must also give its approval. According to my knowledge, the owner's permission has been obtained and this poster represents Estonia's official foreign policy. If one side undertakes certain actions, the other side responds accordingly. This is the current situation," Raik said.

Jevgrafov congratulated everyone on Victory Day and Europe Day and Katri Raik, his political rival, on Europe Day.

Raik wrote on social media that she and Narva City Council member Tatiana Stolfat placed flowers at the memorial near the Narva River, where hundreds of thousands of victims of German and Soviet Russian concentration camps are buried.

The PPA told that the poster was placed on a private property and did not require police approval.

Katri Reik and Tatiana Stolfat commemorate World War II's victims. Source: Facebook/Katri Raik

Russia demands the removal of the poster

At midday, representatives of the border guards of the two countries convened on a bridge over the Narva River. The Russian representatives demanded that the poster be removed, but Estonia refused.

According to ERR, the meeting occurred at the request of the Russian side, which was later confirmed by Indrek Püvi, director of the Narva Police Department.

"Today at ten o'clock, representatives of the Estonian and Russian border guard services convened. The meeting was not pre-arranged; rather, it was initiated by the Russian side. Among other topics, the issue of the Narva Museum's poster was discussed. Representatives from Russia demanded that our border officers remove the poster," Püvi said.

Representatives of the Police and Border Guard Board, according to him, clarified that such a poster is not prohibited in Estonia. "Our work is based on Estonian law, and Russian officials have no grounds to demand the removal of the poster," the police officer explained.

Evening concerts will be held on the Russian side of the Narva River in Ivangorod, where a screen and stage have been set up. The screen is visible from the Narva side of the river.

This article has been updated to include the comments of Narva officials and the PPA.


Follow ERR News on Facebook and Twitter and never miss an update!

Editor: Mait Ots, Kristina Kersa


Hea lugeja, näeme et kasutate vanemat brauseri versiooni või vähelevinud brauserit.

Parema ja terviklikuma kasutajakogemuse tagamiseks soovitame alla laadida uusim versioon mõnest meie toetatud brauserist: