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Maarjamäe memorial not to be torn down, says prime minister

The Soviet war memorial in Maarjamäe.
The Soviet war memorial in Maarjamäe. Source: (ERR)

The Soviet war memorial in Tallinn's Maarjamäe is crumbling and needs attention. As Russian media are gearing up to turn the matter into their next Estonian scandal, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas stressed on Thursday that the memorial won't be torn down.

A comment by Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu (IRL) this month hinted that as the memorial isn't on any of Estonia's heritage protection lists, it could hypothetically be torn down, provided architectural historians don't have an issue with such a step.

Reinsalu's comment was immediately followed by a statement of architectural historian Karin Paulus, who said that the memorial should be maintained as one of Estonia's very few examples of modern-time landscape architecture.

Nevertheless, the Russian media have already begun their game of Chinese whispers. As the story made its rounds earlier this week, headlines quickly moved on from Reinsalu's mere comment to a supposed government decision to have the memorial razed, including imagery that shows a gaping hole in the ground, which in fact is a construction site right next to the memorial.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said on Thursday that a much better idea would be to turn the area, which beyond the memorial also includes the Maarjamäe History Center, a German war cemetery, and soon also a memorial to the victims of communism, into a memorial complex, to be discussed with the war memorial's original architechts.

"Nothing is going to be torn down, certainly not. The object needs conservation and additional investments, of course. It needs to be fixed up," the prime minister added.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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