Monumental Soviet mass grave in Estonia contained no human remains

21.09.2023 18:45

No human remains were found at the site of a purported mass war grave in the eastern Estonian border town of Narva, an excavation revealed.

Before the monument removal, it was suggested by a local expert that no remains were found at the site. This was later confirmed during the removal process.

The monument, which claimed to mark a mass grave of Red Army soldiers from the Estonian War of Independence in 1918, was taken down quickly in Narva's Pimeaed park. Police and Border Guard Board personnel sealed off the area during the removal, which happened without any protests or tensions.

The city's government was notified about the demolition just a day before, following recent changes in leadership. The removal was coordinated with the state Heritage Protection Board and the local Narva heritage protection inspector. Personnel from the National War Museum carried out the removal, following standard procedures.

Following Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine beginning over 18 months ago, many monuments, statues, building details and other reminders of the Soviet occupation of Estonia in the public space – even those predating the actual occupation from 1940 – have been removed and/or relocated to more appropriate surroundings. One of the highest profile of these was the Narva tank, a World War Two-era T-34 Soviet tank, which was removed in August 2022 by the state, from its plinth just north of the town and relocated to the war museum, near Viimsi.

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