Ministry rejects request to change Sillamäe street name

Rumjantsevi tänav in Sillamäe.
Rumjantsevi tänav in Sillamäe. Source: Дмитрий Федоткин/ERR

An appeal to change a street name honoring a Red Army veteran in Sillamäe, northeastern Estonia, has been rejected by Minister of Regional Affairs Madis Kallas (SDE).

Last year, Minister of Public Administration Riina Solman (Isamaa) called for Rumjantsevi tänav to be renamed. Sillamäe City Council discussed the issue in May and refused to do so.

On Wednesday, Kallas gave his support to the council.

"Taking into account the arguments presented by the Sillamäe City Council, we consider that there is no urgent need to change the name of Mihhail Rumjantsevi tänav, as it is clearly not a place name that fails to comply with the requirements of the Place Names Act," he said.

Rumjantsev's friends also appealed to council members to retain the street name.

The council said Rumjantsev is not known to have committed any illegal acts or fought against the Republic of Estonia.

Last year, the National Archives said it was against public places being named in memory of fallen Red Army soldiers. A statement issued by the archives said it is not appropriate.

The National Archives described Rumjantsev as follows:

"Born in 1957, Mihhail Rumyantsev was a Soviet soldier who served in Afghanistan from February 1982, where he was killed on February 14, 1983. He is buried in Sinimäe. In 1989, it was decided that a street in Sillamäe which had been named after Andrei Zhdanov should be renamed Rumjantsevi tänav. In 2009, the Sillamäe City Council decided to rename Rumjantsevi tänav as Mihhail Rumjantsevi tänav. Experts at the National Archives say that 36 Estonian men died in the war in Afghanistan, but there is no street named in honor of any of them, with the exception of Mihhail Rumjantsevi tänav. The Soviet Union's war in Afghanistan was not the war of the Republic of Estonia, although Estonian people died there, historians say, justifying the inappropriateness of the street name."


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Editor: Helen Wright

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