Crowds gather in Narva to watch Victory Day concert on Russia's border

The stage and screen showing the Victory Day concert in Ivangorod, Russia on May 9, 2023.
The stage and screen showing the Victory Day concert in Ivangorod, Russia on May 9, 2023. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

Hundreds of people gathered in Estonia's border city Narva on Tuesday to watch a May 9 Victory Day concert on the opposite side of the border in Russia's Ivangorod.

The concert was organized by the Ivangorod authorities on the banks of the River Narva, which separates Russia and Estonia.

A screen and stage were erected facing Estonia next to the city's fortress.

On Tuesday afternoon, several hundred people gathered on the promenade along Estonia's side of the border to watch the concert.

ERR's Narva correspondent Sergei Stepanov said police officers were in attendance.

He said the concert started later than expected and was attended by the head of the Leningrad region. Stepanov said a patriotic film was shown alongside live performances.

Last week, it was announced that a concert would be held on the Russian border on Victory Day.

In response, Narva Castle Museum, which faces Russia, hung a banner on its walls on Tuesday calling President Vladimir Putin a war criminal.

"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.

Victory Day — May 9 — is the day Russia commemorates World War II and its role in defeating Nazi Germany in 1945.

For Estonia, the day was the start of almost 50 years of occupation which only ended in 1991. The country now celebrates the end of World War II on May 8, along with other EU member states.

People also commemorated the day in Tallinn and elsewhere in Ida-Viru County.

Relations between Estonia and Russia have plummeted since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Russia demands removal of banner

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.

Russian and Estonian officials meeting on the bridge between Narva and Ivangorod. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

"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.


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

Editor: Mirjam Mäekivi, Irina Kirejeva, Helen Wright

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: