Estonia’s Victims of Communism Memorial used for a BMW photo shoot

An unidentified violator conducted a photo shoot with a BMW at the memorial to the victims of communism in the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

The unauthorised photo shoot was noted by passers-by on the evening of 8 July. The entrance of the long and wide corridor in the middle of the memorial – depicting the 22,000 names of the victims who perished in the hands of the Soviet terror – was blocked by a black 1980s BMW 3-series model, used for a photo shoot.

A “barbarism”

Sergei Metlev, a board member of the Estonian Institute of Memory, an NGO that maintains the memorial and its victims’ lists, said the act was an unprecedented one.

Estonia’s Victims of Communism Memorial used for a BMW photo shoot. Video by Jaak Visnap.

He said there have previously been issues with fast-moving cyclists and scooters as well as children who have been left on their own – and who scratch the memorial’s panels – but he never expected a “barbarism” such as this.

“Symbolically, this memorial marks a grave; it is the only place in the world, where thousands of Estonian families can commemorate their relatives who fell victim of communism,” Metlev said in a statement. “A memorial carries our national memory. It is inconceivable on how one can be so uncultured and so unconcerned about this memory.”

Sergei Metlev.

The police are investigating

Metlev said he had filed a report to the police and hoped the incident would be taken and dealt with seriously. He also encouraged everyone who notices other violations and unworthy deeds at the memorial to capture the acts via video or pictures as evidence – and as soon as possible inform the police.

A representative of the Estonian police told Delfi, an online portal, that the police had started an investigation of the violation, for breach of public order – and is looking to identify the persons involved.

Dedicated to the victims of Soviet terror

The memorial, dedicated to all the people of Estonia who suffered under the terror inflicted by the Soviet Union, opened on 23 August 2018.

The memorial, dedicated to all the people of Estonia who suffered under the terror inflicted by the Soviet Union, opened on 23 August 2018. Photo by the the Estonian Institute of Memory.

The names of over 22,000 people who were murdered or who died due to inhuman living conditions in imprisonment or forced exile are inscribed on the memorial’s name plaques. A separate memorial wall is dedicated to military officers of Estonia who fell victim to the communist terror.

The memorial, dedicated to all the people of Estonia who suffered under the terror inflicted by the Soviet Union, opened on 23 August 2018. Photo by the the Estonian Institute of Memory.

An impressive memorial in its scope and blended seamlessly within the surrounding environment, its design has been compared to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC.

Cover: Estonia’s Victims of Communism Memorial used for a BMW photo shoot. Photo by Jaak Visnap.

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