Number of Narva city councillors against dropping Communist street names

In Narva.
In Narva. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The decision to replace street names and get rid of those of Communist revolutionaries Albert-August Tiimann and Ansis Daumanis may not have the necessary support in the city council, as several councillors have said that they don't support the move, daily Postimees wrote on Friday.

The city decided on 12 December this year to rename Tiiman and Dauman St. Tiiman St will get back its pre-occupation name, to be called Sour-Soldina St instead. Dauman St is to be turned into Kivilinna St, Postimees wrote.

As it turns out there is resistance against the move in the city council, with eg the chairman of its culture and sports committee, councilman Vladimir Butuzov, saying that he will vote against it.

City secretary: High cost of change just an excuse

Those councillors against the change are mainly quoting the cost of amending registers and getting new signs as the reason. The city's secretary, Ants Liimets, thinks this is just an excuse.

Mr Liimets told the paper that changing the street names in the electronic register is done quickly and at no cost at all. "The only cost arises from the replacement of street signs, and that isn't a great expense. If someone for some reason doesn't like to see streets named after Communists renamed, let them come out and say it, and not hide behind the argument of high costs," he said.

The renaming of the streets was initiated by Mr Liimets himself, who argues that it isn't appropriate for streets in an Estonian city to bear the names of people who fought against the Republic of Estonia.

Tiimann, Dauman leading figures in Soviet puppet state

Ancis Dauman and Albert Tiimann were leading figures in the Commune of the Working People of Estonia (Eesti Töörahwa Kommuun), a local puppet regime established by Bolshevik forces. The Commune claimed the Bolshevik-occupied parts of the Republic of Estonia as its territories during the Estonian War of Independence.

The regime was active from the start of the War of Independence until the end of January 1919, but never recognised by any state beyond the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (RSFSR), which later became the Soviet Union.

Mr Liimets said that during the brief rule of the Commune, 126 people were murdered in Narva that the regime considered a threat to its rule. Across the territories it claimed, the regime murdered around 500, including land owners, businessmen, academics and clergymen.

Albert-August Tiimann was an Estonian Communist who in 1918 and 1919 served as chairman of the executive committee of Narva under the Commune of the Working People of Estonia.

Ancis Dauman (Ancis Daumanis, Ants Dauman) was a Communist of Latvian origin who served as chairman of the War Revolutionary Committee of Narva in 1917 and 1918.

The role of Dauman, an ethnic Latvian, is not entirely negative from Estonia's viewpoint, however, as Dauman was mayor of Narva when Narva and the neighbouring city of Ivangorod across the river were separated from the governorate of St. Petersburg and made part of the governorate of Estonia in the Russian empire.

The transition of Narva to the governorate of Estonia was completed in December 1917, a couple of months before the Republic of Estonia was proclaimed.

Other street names less problematic

Mr Liimets said that the city government has had mail from residents asking if other names not suitable for the Republic of Estonia, such as Peetri (Peter) Sq and the street named after July 26, the day the Red Army retook Narva in 1944, had to go next. However, Mr Liimets doesn't consider this necessary.

"Tsar Peter I certainly played an important role in the life of the city of Narva, and unlike Tiimann or Dauman he didn't fight against the Republic of Estonia. One can see 26 July St in different ways, as a day of liberation or re-occupation of Narva. Both interpretations are viable. At least that street does not bear the name of a person who killed residents," Mr Liimets said.

Speaking about a local street named after Igor Grafov, hero of the Soviet Union who fell as the Red Army was advancing towards Narva in 1944, Mr Liimets said that in his opinion, that street could also keep its name.

"Grafov fell in action, he had no choice. But the leaders of the Commune of the Working People were not killed in action, they set up a regime of terror for everyone to fear," he said.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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