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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.20

Postsocialist monuments – memory, ideology and art


  • Dr. Mare KOIVA

Primary authors

  • Dr. Mare KOIVA (Estonian Literary Museum/Center of Excellence in Estonian Studies)


After the end of the Soviet Union in 1991, a large number of monuments of that time were relocated from the public space. In contrast, almost all of the monuments that were built during The Republic of Estonia (founded in 1918) were restored. The paper will analyze the so-called monument war. The chain of events began with the relocation of the Lihula war monument (2002), the Bronze warrior (2007), and the erection of the War of Independence Victory column (2009), despite public opposition. An interesting insight into memory and the history of remembrance is offered by Maarjamäe memorial complex, where many monuments have been accrued over time. The 35-meter obelisk, constructed during 1960 in memory of the Ice Cruise of the Baltic Fleet, the memorial that was built in 1975 in honor of those who died for the Soviet cause. In 2018 a Memorial of the Victims of Communism that lists the names of more than 22000 people who lost their lives under the communist regime was established nearby, with smaller monuments that belong to the complex. The monuments are associated with different remembering practices, national and private traditions. This report will contextualize the dynamics of the monuments and the discussions surrounding them as well as the assessments of this process by artists, semiotics and citizens. When the postsocialist space is formed, ideological pressure and expectations are polarized with tradition and artistic requirements. However, the question arises regarding the persistence of monuments, that are the material part of memory practices.