Council to build parking lot, bus stop on former Soviet monument site

Workers removing the last Soviet monument in Iisaku, Ida-Viru County.
Workers removing the last Soviet monument in Iisaku, Ida-Viru County. Source: ERR

The last of 11 Soviet monuments were removed from Alutagus Municipality in Ida-Viru County on Tuesday. The council plans to build a bus stop and parking lot on the site

Data from the Ministry of Defense's War Graves Commission showed that almost 300 war victims were buried in Iisaku half a century ago. The monument's plaque said 79 people lay beneath the ground.

But excavations at the site revealed seven coffins with human remains inside, Tuesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.

"There were no artifacts of any kind with these burials to identify them chronologically or in any other way. So we will never know who we dug up there," said Arnold Unt, an archeologist at the Estonian War Museum.

Municipality Council chairman Marek Kullamägi said he was satisfied with the work carried out.

"The result is very good, this is the end of a long saga of, shall we say, Red monuments in Alutaguse municipality. This was the last one," he said, adding the remains will now be reburied in the local cemetery and marked with a neutral plaque.

Kullamägi said the monument's plaque has also been handed over to the National Heritage Board.

The council now plans to redevelop the area.

"Firstly, our Grossi car park already cannot accommodate all the cars — the car park needs to be extended," Kullamägi said. "And there are also thoughts that the Riga bus stop could be here."

In total, 11 Soviet monuments have been removed from municipal land and discussions are ongoing about those on private land.

Last year, after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the government ruled to remove the remaining monuments honoring the Soviet Union.

Remains of soldiers buried in public spaces were excavated and reburied in cemeteries, while monuments were destroyed. In many cases, they were replaced by neutral grave markers.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

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