Fate of Lihula monument undecided

  • 2004-10-20
  • Baltic News Service
TALLINN - The government said it would decide what to do with the controversial World War II memorial stone removed from the Lihula site after an investigation into the events that occurred during the monument's dismantling was over.

The daily Eesti Paevaleht in its Oct. 19 edition published a letter to the prime minister by Ants Teder, a representative of the Tallinn chapter of freedom fighters, who said that since the monument had been made with veterans' money, it belonged to them.He said the monument's owners had authorized him to represent them in his capacity as organizer of fund-raising for the monument.

"On their behalf I wish to know where, how and when the aforementioned item of movable property can be collected," Teder said.

The Lihula monument is being kept by the Interior Ministry at an undisclosed location.

Aarne Veedla, adviser to the Population Ministry, said no one had been able to prove that he or she was the owner of the monument or that he or she was representing the owner.

Spokespeople for the Interior Ministry said this week that so far no one had formally come forth to reclaim the monument.

Prime Minister Juhan Parts has suggested that the monument could be exhibited in a museum.

At a Cabinet meeting on Sept. 16 the population minister and the interior minister were tasked with finding a suitable location for the memorial stone to Estonians who fought against Bolshevism in World War II. If necessary, the two ministers may bring in the culture and justice ministers to help make the decision.

An investigation has been opened into clashes between police and local residents that broke out when municipal workers, backed by riot police, were sent in with a crane and a truck on Sept. 2 to remove the memorial stone that was causing harm to Estonia's international image. The monument, depicting an Estonian soldier in a World War II German uniform, was unveiled on Aug. 20.