Estonian government approves demolition of hundreds of Soviet monuments

Soviet
Soviet monument in Estonia – WHITEHOTPIX / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

The Estonian government has approved a plan for the removal and demolition of up to 244 monuments erected in public space during the Soviet era or in honor of the Red Army for its victory in World War II against Nazi Germany.

The Baltic country’s authorities have given their approval for the removal of monuments that, in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a large part of the Estonian population considers offensive as they recall decades of Soviet occupation.

This decision is the result of the final report drawn up by a commission set up in June by the Estonian government itself, which decided that of the 322 monuments analyzed, more than 70 are considered ideologically neutral and will therefore remain in public spaces.

Among these, the military cemetery of the Estonian Defense Forces in Tallinn – where the Soviet statue of the Bronze Soldier is located – stands out, as well as the memorial complex of Maarjamae, also in memory of the troops fallen during the Second World War.

The Estonian authorities, together with other European powers, have intensified the removal and demolition of Soviet monuments in public space as one of the measures in response to the war in Ukraine, initiated by Russia at the end of February.

One of the most prominent episodes occurred in August, when Tallinn ordered the removal of a Soviet tank from the border town of Narva. That decision provoked Moscow’s anger, which regarded the gesture as contempt for Soviet work in the war.