If you are ever in the mood for a good chuckle and have a reasonable grasp of the Estonian language, open up a history book of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Inside you will find scant mention of the 'fascist dictatorship' that ruled Estonia for 22 very brief years from 1918 to 1940, but instead will discover the intricate details of meetings between the Estonian communist intelligentsia in 1917. Jaan Anvelt brought his well-worn edition of Das Kapital. Viktor Kingissepp served tea and biscuits.
This was not the history of a people or a place, but of a political movement for whom people and places were mere props in their master plan for humanity. Monuments in the ESSR commemorated events that to people today would be utterly meaningless.
One such monument was to Eestimaa Töörahva Kommuun, a puppet people's government set up in Narva on 29 November 1918. It didn't last long. Kingissepp died at the hands of Estonian authorities in 1922. Anvelt, who fled to Russia after the war, died at the hands of Stalin during the purges in 1937.
Because of the chaos that ensued during World War I, the Russian Revolution, and finally the October Revolution in the Russian Empire, the official mouthpieces of the Communist Party called for smaller local councils to be established that would be later reintegrated into a post-tsarist Bolshevik super state. The undemocratic Eestimaa Töörahva Kommuun, led by Estonian communists Kingisepp and Anvelt, was such an organization.
As a city, Narva is isolated in Estonia by both language and geography. Almost every other major Estonian city speaks Estonian as its majority language, while Narva is Russophone. Narva is also nearly 200 kilometers from Tallinn, making the trip to Estonia's border city a long bus ride. It is for these reasons, perhaps, that the Narva City Government today finally got around to moving a monument to the Eestimaa Töörahva Kommuun that was displayed on a wall next to Narva's City Hall.
The monument may find a new home at the Estonian Historical Museum in Tallinn, which would be a fitting place for the likenesses of Anvelt and Kingissepp. The communists have once again found themselves in the Estonian history books, just in a less prominent way.