All news

Estonian legislators reject idea of restoring monument to SS soldier

The monument, placed in Lihula in August 2004, lasted only for a couple of weeks

TALLINN, September 19. /TASS/. The legislative assembly of Estonia’s district Laaneranna on Thursday unanimously voted against restoring a monument to the SS soldiers, earlier dismantled at the cemetery of the district’s center Lihula, the district’s elder, Mikk Pikkmets has said.

"This stone has no direct bearing on the residents of Lihula or local events," he told the daily Laane Elu. "None of the legionnaires who were killed in this area are buried at the cemetery."

In August, the legislative assembly of the Estonian district Laanaranna ruled that the proposal for restoring the dismantled monument to the SS soldiers would be undesirable, but promised to make a final decision in September.

The Estonian Legion Friends’ Club asked the Laanaranna authorities to restore the monument to the SS soldier last July. Earlier, the same proposal was made by activists of the Conservative People’s party of Estonia, affiliated with the ruling coalition. Parliamentary Speaker Henn Polluaas supported the idea, but Prime Minister Juri Ratas said the proper place for this monument was in a museum. Also, Ratas warned against using the memory of those killed in World War II for political or ideological purposes.

The Russian embassy in Estonia said that calls being made in Estonia for restoring the dismantled SS monument were blasphemous and an insult to those who fought against fascism. The Russian diplomats said that among Red Army soldiers who were killed on battlefields in Estonia there were many Estonians who did not spare their lives fighting against the Hitlerites.

Scandalous monument

The scandalous monument was placed in Lihula on August 20, 2004. It depicts a soldier with an automatic rifle, the inscription reading: "To the Estonians who fought in 1940-1945 against Bolshevism and restoration of the independence of Estonia." The government issued orders to dismantle the monument on September 2 of the same year. The then prime minister Juhan Parts said the emergence of such a monument "resulted in a situation where the participants in the struggle for the freedom and independence of Estonia began to be labeled Nazi henchmen."

In September last year, the Conservative People’s Party held a rally timed for the 14th anniversary of the removal of the monument. According to the ERR portal about 200 demonstrators took part. A copy of the removed monument was placed at the cemetery during the ceremony.