Municipality of Lüganuse wants to move Soviet-era memorials to one site | New

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The rural municipality of Lüganuse in the county of Ida-Viru says that the location should be in a remote place in the forest, but at the same time no further progress can be made without the help of the State.

Marja-Liisa Veiser, district dean of Lüganuse, told ETV’s “Aktuaalne kaamera” (AK) news program on Wednesday: “There are still a lot of things to sort out. I would also like more clarity and assistance from the state, as the official position is that symbols of occupation should not be in public space.”

“Since we have the tomb of the Küttejõu brothers (Küttejõu vennashaud, Küttejõu Küttejõu is a district under the jurisdiction of the municipality – editor’s note) which is not essentially in a public space but rather located inside the forest, the the most reasonable thing would be if we could move a memorial stone that is on private property there, as well as the statue in the school park in Lüganuse, and rebury those remains there,” Veiser continued.

Sarkis Tatevosjan, owner of the private land referred to, told AK that: “If it is done with dignity, respecting the memory of the dead and burying them with respect, then in my opinion it is possible. However, this should not be how it happened in Rakvere, where a mass grave was dug with a bulldozer, because I think this approach is unacceptable.”

The Küttejõu site is a mass grave (see gallery above) containing the remains of bomber crews and other servicemen who fell during World War II; the stone memorial on private property is located nearby on Vabaduse 8, in the town of Kiviõli.

Tatevosjan said he had wanted to move the memorial stone (see also the gallery) in the past, but at the time opposed the government of the now defunct Kiviõli town (since the reforms administration of 2017).

A local resident, Kalev Piilberg, said the people whose ancestral homes were bombed by the planes piloted by those buried in Küttejõu, and their comrades, would also be happy with the transfer of the stone from Kiviõli as proposed by Tatevosjan. .

Piilberg told AK that: “There is a plinth at Küttejõu’s grave, where the stone could be placed. It could be moved there and laid well, then it won’t be an eyesore in the cityscape.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from February 24 has drawn public attention to the issue of Soviet-era memorials, with several high-profile moves or removals across the country.

In Ida-Viru county, many of whose towns are predominantly Russian-speaking, the issue is particularly thorny, and the removal and relocation of a Soviet-made T-34 tank from its pedestal just north of Narva to the national war museum just outside Tallinn, had to take place under tight security conditions.

According to the current law, if a memorial to which no human remains are associated or buried nearby falls under the jurisdiction of the local authority, the presence of human remains or war graves falls under the responsibility of the State, via the War Graves Commission, in turn under the auspices of the War Museum and eventually the Ministry of Defence.

The huge volume of sites in question across Estonia, however, led to a bottleneck in the works, but, conversely, in the case of the Narva reservoir, the state had to intervene after the government local rigged the question.

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