Putin war criminal poster taken down from Narva Castle walls

The anti-Putin poster as it appeared on the day it was unveiled, May 9, 2023.
The anti-Putin poster as it appeared on the day it was unveiled, May 9, 2023. Source: Dmitri Fedotkin/ERR

A large image of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and which referred to him as a war criminal has been taken down from the ramparts of Narva Castle, on Estonia's eastern border, where it had been hanging for almost a week.

The poster, a couple of meters in width and several meters high (see picture) comprised an image of Vladimir Putin overlaid with a bloodstain and text in English referring to him as a war criminal.

It would have been visible from the other side of the Narva River, in the Russian Federation.

The poster was taken down on Monday.

Speaking to ERR's Russian-language news, Maria Smorževskihh-Smirnova, director of the Narva Museum, responsible for the action, said that the plan had been to leave the installation where it was into the start of this week, by which time it would have fulfilled its function, she said.

That function was a response to a May 9 concert played on the Russian side of the Narva river, under the eaves of the Ivangorod Castle, and which was viewable, and audible, from the Estonian side.

May 9 is "victory day" in the Russian Federation, marking the end of World War Two.

Smorževskihh-Smirnova added that the poster would be retained, and could potentially be reused in the same way in future.

"We hope to take the poster into the museum's collection, but we do not rule out that it will still be used for its original purpose," she said.

"We have to recall that there is a full-scale war in progress, as launched by Putin. We felt it necessary to put this installation in place, to remind us all that everything has a price," Smorževskihh-Smirnova said at the time.

The city's mayor, Katri Raik, had called for the poster to be taken down last week, on the grounds of its being divisive in the predominantly Russian-speaking city of around 57,000 people.

Smorževskih-Smirnova denied that the installation had been a provocation, adding it had been planned in advance by the museum, in conjunction with the volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit)-staffed Propastop organization.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja

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