Estonian govt to discuss bill seeking to regulate removal of Soviet-era monuments

  • 2022-11-09
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The Estonian government will discuss on Thursday a bill geared at amending the Building Code, Act to Implement the Building Code and the Planning Act, and State Assets Act in order to create regulation on how to remove inappropriate structures, particularly Soviet-era monuments, from the public space.

Thus far, the removal of monuments bearing forbidden insignia has been conducted in accordance with general law enforcement and punishment norms. Now the corresponding norms will also be stipulated in the rules for the area of construction.

The bill aims to amend the Building Code and specify that publicly visible parts of buildings as well as publicly displayed monuments, sculptures and other structures must not incite to hatred, support or justify occupying regimes, acts of aggression, genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes. The bill also lays down the state's powers for removing structures that do not meet the requirements. The structures must be brought into conformity with the new requirements within three months from the law's entry into effect.

Supervision of compliance with requirements in the Building Code is generally conducted by local governments. In relation to the new requirements about to be established, the Ministry of Justice will be authorized to conduct administrative supervision over local governments. In order to resolve disputes, a government committee will be formed which will be able to assess structures' conformity with the requirements. The bill provides that the committee must include a representative of the National Heritage Board.

The bill is planned to enter into force according to the general procedure after being handled by the parliament.