EKRE member fined for hanging Estonian SSR flag in Tallinn's Old Town

Andres Aule and Jaak Valge
Andres Aule and Jaak Valge Source: PPA

EKRE Riigikogu member Jaak Valge said on Monday he will be fined by the Police and Border Guard (PPA) along with poet Andres Aule for hanging the flag of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic (ESSR) in Tallinn's Old Town.

Valge said they will now be charged with breaching public order.

"[N]amely disturbing third parties. Two third parties whom we allegedly disturbed are named in the criminal file are Mr Abdrahmanov and Mr Aleksejev," he said.

Valge said the pair's goal was to draw attention to the bas-relief of Juhan Smuul on the wall of the Writer's House (Kirjanike maja) at Harju 1. He said was a permanent symbol of the occupying power and should be removed.

"However, the punishment for using the symbol of the occupying power was imposed on us instead," the MP said.

Valge said, a separate issue is how artistic performances used as a form of protest can be punished, even if they do not break any laws.

Jaak Valge and Andres Aule hanging the flag in Tallinn's Old Town. Source: PPA

"Symbols related to the Estonian SSR are not banned in Estonia, except when used to justify international crimes. The PPA itself has publicly stated in the past that the use of symbols of the Soviet Union in public spaces is not prohibited," he said.

While it would be easier and cheaper to pay the fine, Valge said he plans to challenge the decision in court.

 In July, when the incident took place, the EKRE MP called the action a publicity stunt.

Juhan Smuul (1922-1971) was not only a writer and chair of the Estonian Writers' Union, but also a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Estonia, a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union and of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR, and secretary of the board of the Union of Soviet Writers.

He also stands charged with being involved in the 1949 deportation of Estonians, by the Soviet authorities.

Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union twice, between 1940-1941 and again between 1945-1991.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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