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Common Grave for and "Bronze Soldier" Memorial to Red Army soldiers in Tallinn, Estonia

What follows here is the introduction to a Historical statement: Common Grave for and Memorial to Red Army soldiers on Tõnismägi, Tallinn (word doc)

Contracted by the Estonian Foundation for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity and Compiled Peeter Kaasik in 2006:

Currently published information concerning the common grave for soldiers of the Red Army and the so-called “Liberators’ Monument” at Kaarli pst 13, Tõnismägi, Tallinn is controversial, being based on either official approaches to history published during the Soviet period or on oral heritage preserved among the people.

The Tallinn Inspectorate of Cultural Monuments made an inquiry on this subject to the Estonian State Archives in 1994. In the reply of the State Archives it was stated that no documents reflecting the funeral of Red Army soldiers on Tõnismägi in the autumn of 1944 had been found.

In 2004, Külli Holsting (Tallinn Cultural Heritage Department) and Urmas Oolup (Municipal Archives) compiled a memo on the same subject, using the documents kept in the National Archives and the Tallinn Municipal Archives. Neither did they manage to find any documented proof of the time and circumstances of the funeral of the Red Army soldiers. Based on a coffin found in the course of the excavation work on Tõnismägi in 1995, the writers of the memo believed that the existence of the burial place on Tõnismägi is an incontestable fact.

In the course of the preparation of this statement, the availability of potential authentic archival sources in Estonian archives was re-examined and information published in books and in the press was analysed. The archives of the organisations and agencies, which were likely involved in these events or whose involvement had previously been referred to, were scrutinised.

The main attention was focused on the following archives:

· Agendas, minutes and short-hand reports of the meetings of the EC(b)P Central Committee Bureau
· Schedules of work, correspondence and accounting records of the Military Department, (Branch of the Estonian State Archives (the former Party Archives) – ERAF Archives depot 1)
· Agendas, minutes, decisions, regulations and orders of the meetings of the Council of People’s Commissars of the Estonian SSR
· Correspondence of the Military Department of the ESSR CPC (Estonian State Archives – ERA Archives depot R-1)
· Agendas, minutes and reports of the meetings of the EC(b)P Tallinn City Committee Bureau
· Statements and correspondence of the Military Department and the Organisation and Instruction Department of the City Committee (ERAF Archives depot 5),
· Minutes of the meetings of the Executive Committee of the Council of Working People’s Deputies of the city of Tallinn
· Reports and correspondence of the Tallinn Department of Architecture (Tallinn Municipal Archives – TLA Archives depot R-1)
· Documentation of the Tallinn Maintenance Trust (TLA Archives depot R-180)
· Reports of the political departments of the 8th Estonian Rifle Corps and the 7th Estonian Rifle Division and the historical journals of the units thereof (ERAF Archives depot 63, 78)
· Transcripts of the operational reports of the 8th Army and the 2nd Shock Army of the Red Army (ERAF Archives depot 32)

In addition, the Archives of the Defence Resources Agency (Archives depot 9) and the Archives of the Tallinn Board of City Planning (depository unit 6509) were used; the annexed photos originate from the Estonian Film Archives and the Estonian History Museum.

Important information was also found in the press of 1944–1945.

The statement was prepared with a view to finding answers to the following questions:

· Did the graves of the Red Army soldiers appear on Tõnismägi and when did they appear? Who gave the order for the burial and who conducted the burial?
· How many bodies were altogether buried there and who were the Red Army soldiers buried on Tõnismägi?
· What were the circumstances of the erection of the “Liberators’ Monument” and on whose initiative was it carried out and who directed it?
· What was the monument to be erected to symbolise?

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