State takes possession of preservable parts of monuments taken down in Narva

  • 2022-08-24
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The Estonian government has given consent to the Police and Border Guard Board to take the components of the war monuments relocated from the Narva area on Aug. 16 into the state's ownership so that the police authority can hand them over to the Ministry of Defense, which will transfer them to the Estonian War Museum.

In addition to the T-34 tank already taken to the Estonian War Museum, the museum's new assets include a star and two commemorative plaques separated from the monument to Red Army soldiers in Narva Castle Park, a metal panel from the so-called "Three Bayonets" monument next to Narva-Joesuu Road, a star and a memorial plaque from the common grave of World War II dead in the area between Narva River and Viktoria Bastion, and an anchor and a memorial stone from the memorial to the Merikula landing that used to stand next to Hiiemetsa road in Narva-Joesuu.

"The purpose of relocating war monuments from the public spaces of Narva and Narva-Joesuu was to ensure internal security," Minister of the Interior Lauri Laanemets said according to remarks published via spokespeople.

"These monuments had become a source of tension in society in the context of the war in Ukraine, so they had to be removed as a matter of urgency in order to ensure public order. At the same time, these monuments are a part, albeit a regrettable part, of Estonia's history and memory," the minister said, adding that therefore, we need to find a place for them in a context where the historical significance of the monuments of the foreign power is adequately explained.

The minister, who made the corresponding proposal to the government, explained that the Estonian War Museum deals with the research and presentation of Estonia's military history and cultural heritage, therefore the next logical step is to transfer the monuments and items stored in a police warehouse to the state, and further to the museum.

Based on the government's decision made on the early morning of Aug. 16, memorial plaques in Peetri Square, a memorial to Red Army soldiers in Narva Castle Park and a memorial to Igor Grafov were removed from Narva's public space.

In the nearby town of Narva-Joesuu, in addition to the tank moment, the so-called "Three Bayonets" monument and the monument to the Merikula landing were removed.

The marker of a common grave of those who died in World War II, located in the area between Narva River and Viktoria Bastion in Narva, was adapted to make it neutral.

Earlier, the government decided in principle to remove the war monuments of the Soviet occupation regime from public space in Estonia by the end of this year.