teisipäev, juuli 07, 2009

hammer of the gods

They took an Estonian Cross of Liberty from 1919 and stuck it on a pedestal in Tallinn. The monument was officially opened June 22 to coincide with Võidupüha -- "Victory Day" -- which commemorates the victory of Estonian troops over the German freikorps at Võnnu (Cesis, Latvia) 90 years ago.

I like that they built a monument to the veterans of the Estonian War of Independence. I enjoy how Estonian nationalism is focused on 1918 rather than 1945. The First World War lacks the Biblical narrative of postwar Allied history. The narrative of the Great War, the assassination that led to thousands of more deaths, the collapse of empires, the shifts in alliance, the chaotic emergence of new states, seems more representative of the nature of human conflict. Estonia at that time produced heroes, heroes who actually won and made a state from a territory that was only several years prior two Baltic provinces that had been traded by neighboring empires for hundreds of years.

So the victory deserves commemoration. But how? The erection of the võidusammas -- victory monument -- was your typical Estonian production, filled with backbiting and intrigue, allegations of misused resources, aesthetical battles pro and con, and worries over whether it was just too "anachronistic" and "aggressive," in the words of one German-born Tallinn academic, for a modern city center.

I went there Sunday morning. There was no one around. Like most commentators, I was pleased that it was not completely revolting, but -- a Cross of Liberty on a pedestal? That's the best you could do? In Suure-Jaani they have a statue of Lembitu of Lehola on his back, sword in the air, fighting to the death for his freedom. I always liked Suure-Jaani Lembitu. He was fearless man holding a weapon. But the new monument? It looks like a weapon itself.

I could imagine some science fiction film where the buildings of Tallinn come alive. The Stalini maja -- an imposing multistory Stalin-era building across from Stockmann kept intact for historical purposes -- begins to breath fire. From its perch on Liivalaia and Tartu maantee, Stalini maja uproots itself and starts moving towards the Riigikogu on Toompea. It's slicing the air with its hammer and sickle star. It could be the end of the Estonian republic.

The Riigikogu is defenseless -- the Russian Orthodox Church won't allow him to hook up with his stalwart ally Vana Toomas on Tallinn's Townhall Square. But, suddenly, the Riigikogu reaches around the Orthodox priest and grabs a hold of the võidusammas, a ready-made battle axe, a hammer of the gods. A couple swift blows from the võidusammas brings the Stalini maja to its knees. Its remains are jackhammered and used to make new parking places. The Riigikogu dusts off its battle axe and returns it to its place, where little girls in national costumes bring it flowers.

It would make a great film but, in reality, the monument looks kind of out of place. Tallinn's vibe is a Hansa one. It's the air of thrifty merchants of various backgrounds making a living backdropped by picture perfect cobblestone lanes. It was the hometown of Jakob de la Gardie, a statesman of French extraction turned nobleman of a German-speaking city in the imperial Swedish center of its Estland province. There's a shopping center named after his family now, across from the McDonalds near the Viru gate. That's Tallinn right there. That's what the city is about. Is it also a home for this hammer of the gods? Apparently so, but I am not yet convinced.

69 kommentaari:

Oop ütles ...

Indeed, Thor's hammer is a little bit unsuitable, as Estonia has no connection with Thor. But we have Odin's grave on Osmussaar - the only god who is actually buried in Estonia. (I still can't understand why no one has turned it into a major tourism target. All the neo-pagans would be delighted.)

So, instead of the hammer, the column could carry two ravens of Odin. Beautiful and wise birds as they are, ravens go well with any war, past or future.

Lingüista ütles ...

I see what you mean, Giustino, but in a sense this cross-on-a-pedestal is in the tradition of such monuments. The Brīvības piemineklis (Freedom Monument) in Rīga is also a column, and despite the statues at the base not so much more interesting.

I guess the Estonians could have done an Arc-of-Triumph monument like the French, but maybe that would have been too much. Maybe this sobriety and simplicity actually go well with the Estonian national ethos, I don't know.

Of course, it also gives the Russian press the opportunity of complaining about how much this looks like a Fascist/Nazi symbols, the old Estonian Waffen-SS divisions (OK, it's not the same war, but when has such a detail ever stopped a journalist? :-)...

Giustino ütles ...

The Russian media should be reminded that Russians in the SS wore the white, blue, and red Russian flag on their uniforms, which would make the Russian flag a fascist symbol, according to their line of thinking.

oHpuu ütles ...

the "Stalini maja" was known as the Turkish Embassy in Soviet times. why? it has a crescent and a star on the top of it.

Kristopher ütles ...

I thought the whole "Balkenkreuz" characterization was silly, but in this particular photograph, to me, it looks like a decoration on the chest of an German war hero from WWI (i.e. someone who probably didn't vote social democrat in 1933). There's something imperial there I don't like.

Someone once proposed an armoured train for the top of the statue, if you had to sum up how Estonia was able to defeat 35,000 Bolsheviks that is one key element.

The Russian media should be reminded that Russians in the SS wore the white, blue, and red Russian flag on their uniforms, which would make the Russian flag a fascist symbol, according to their line of thinking.

Nice. Haven't heard that one before. Yours?

Giustino ütles ...

Nice. Haven't heard that one before. Yours?

Yes. I was looking at the symbols of the Norwegian, Dutch, Danish, and other German "national divisions" to see if they also used national imagery. They did. Here's a poster for Den Norske Legion, for example.
I also found out that there were at least two Russian divisions within the Reich's army in the process. I guess you can't even call it the German army. It was multinational. A coalition of the (mostly) unwilling.

Kristopher ütles ...

I realize this is all subjective, but the Freedom Monument in Riga (apart from the steps, which are very similar) is tapered, elegant and, most of all, feminine and tall.

Basically, twice as tall as the Võidusammas.

Giustino ütles ...

Ah, but this isn't a freedom monument. It's a victory monument. I would have preferred something more feminine too. Maybe it wouldn't look as out of place. I haven't met anybody yet who *loves* the võidusammas.

Kristopher ütles ...

poster for Den Norske Legion

LOL. Who did the artwork, Hitler?

plasma-jack ütles ...

The Russian media should be reminded that Russians in the SS wore the white, blue, and red Russian flag on their uniforms, which would make the Russian flag a fascist symbol, according to their line of thinking.

There's a cool video made in about 1990 when Interfront tried to "capture" Toompea (or whatever they might have had in mind). You can see there that when the people with Soviet flags finally leave, the "nationalists" stay on the square - one of them waving the Estonian flag and other one the Russian tricolore, both outlawed flags together as best friends.
Now the same guys who would have kicked your teeth in for showing these colors are using them like they have done it for centuries..

plasma-jack ütles ...

*had done it, I mean

stockholm slender ütles ...

To be honest, it's bit too "socialist realism" style for me - this is not to say that for example the Mannerheim statue in the centre of Helsinki wouldn't be also, but then again it was erected in the 1950's. Estonians usually seem to be way more stylish than the Finns but this monument is certainly very heavy handed and pompous. I guess the subject demands it, though why it should be that way, I have no idea.

Inner monologue ütles ...

I quess this severe looking teutonic cross serves the purpose of reminding Russians "not to mess with Texas" or something.

Giustino ütles ...

I think this song should have been played at the opening ceremonies.

Andres ütles ...

It looks better in the night in my opinion. Then it's like a beacon of light, in daylight it's a bit dull.

luuletaja ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
luuletaja ütles ...

there is the hypothetical connection that the late president Meri draw between the Taara and Thor, and possible origin of latter from Estonian mythology, as it is all over the ugri lands and connected with Kaali meteorite, the thundergod Taara with power to take down sun from sky seems awfully like Thor.

but as all hypothesis, it can be the other way around as well, although, its a bit more tricky to explain how the tundra and deep forest inhabitating ugris got the god name, and not a single one was left out.

stories based on thin air and some words are nice, but the actual Odins grave should realy be made into a Joulupukki-like place, especially considering the WOW madness and other games based on Nordic mythology in cyberspace for the last years.

Heli ütles ...

I happen to love the monument at night, in daylight it indeed "doesn´t work" unfortunately. Pompous, yes, but if it wouldn´t been this, then we would still be arguing which is most suitable and that´s for granted that nationwise consensus in this matter would never be reached. There is never going to be anything that even roomfull of people would agree on 100%, down to nuances. It´s up, indeptedness to the men and women who gave us freedom 90 years ago, has been erased and I´m personnaly really glad for this.

Heli ütles ...

sry, indebtedness of course

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, I would think that actually something more fragile, more beautiful and perhaps even a touch more abstract would have been a relatively easy sell. Was the selection process very political then - I could easily see a political panel going for the most pompous and obvious style.

Andres ütles ...

Was the selection process very political then - I could easily see a political panel going for the most pompous and obvious style.

The head of the panel who chose it was the arch bishop of the Estonian Lutheran Church.

The process was mostly like this: it seemed that Estonian architects didn't believe it's going to be built anyway because it hasn't been on so many occasions. The second and third place of the competition were in the style of "ooh, we'll just put a large abstract white thingy to symbolize freedom" or "we'll put rotating sticks coming out of the earth to symbolize the men who fought" or smth. But when it seemed like the Defence Ministry means business this time, everybody in the artsy-community freaked out and started to petition against it. And the Defence Ministry was liek "Are you kidding me? We're supposed to cancel the result because YOU didn't find it worthy to submit anything better in the first place!?" And so it went.

plasma-jack ütles ...

I think this song should have been played at the opening ceremonies.

Imperial March would be my option

Andres ütles ...

Haha, that site is great. Further proof that everything is funny with the Benny Hill Theme.

space_maze ütles ...

This column is making me be annoyed with so many people for so many reasons. Most of which have already stated with.

I'm annoyed with the Russians, who're yelling about the fascist symbolism and all that, even though, as Justin has said, the mark on this column shares the honour of having been misused by the Nazis with quite a few other national symbols across Europe, such as the Russian flag.

I'm annoyed with the powers-that-be in Estonia, that saw it necessary to construct such a militaristic symbol, in the 21st century, for a war that happened almost a century ago. Yeah, I get it was an inspiring chapter of Estonian history. But considering how much I've been complaining about Russians not getting over WWII, it doesn't make me happy that Estonians are now constructing a monument to WWI.

I'm annoyed with the fact that I'll have to explain many more times, as I had to yesterday to my mother, that this is not actually an Iron cross, and that it actually commemorates a fight that was (partially) *against* the Germans. Of all the aspects of Estonian history I'd like to smartass about, an obscure symbol from the 20s that happens to look a lot like a symbol many people have extremely negative connotations with is not really one of major ones.

And I'm annoyed with the people that designed the thing, because it's just so god-damned ugly. And that they could not find something more elegant, like the aforementioned Latvian monument.

I'm annoyed at having such an eyesore on my vista up to the town wall towers from Vabaduse väljak.

And I'm annoyed with the fact that I can't actually hope for anyone to destroy the damned thing, because any assault on it would be a hostile act against Estonia.

... nope, not happy with the column. Two phallic symbols on Vabaduse väljak were enough.

Giustino ütles ...

It's a shame that a lot of people don't like the design. What to do?

plasma-jack ütles ...

sorry

Lingüista ütles ...

I had thought at first that the sobriety would fit the Estonian ethos, but after reading the reactions here I'm beginning to doubt it.

The Russians would complain anyway. I don't think there's any design you could have given that monument that they wouldn't have complained about. Not much to do there.

The problem, space_maze, is that monuments are necessary. The fact that most of Europe got over World War II doesn't mean there aren't monuments about it pretty much all over Europe. 'Getting over' doesn't mean forgetting; in fact, I'd go as far as saying that Europe should get over, but never forget, WWII (and its begin, WWI).

Is the võidusammas a militaristic monument? Well, it's a victory column celebrating the acquisition of freedom. In some sense, anything that keeps the memory of a war victory is 'militaristic'; but that would be taking things too far, wouldn't it? Frankly, as far as militarism goes, it could have been worse; at least there are no soldiers as in the Thai Victory Monument or in the Chicago Victory Monument; or all the war scenes in the ancient Columna Traiana. Is the võidusammas really more militaristic than, say, a big Estonian flag on top of a column would have been?

I just find it "sober" and -- as others indirectly implied above -- masculine. Maybe not the best choice, but hey, it could have been much worse.

Inner monologue ütles ...

To make the point succinctly clear to Russians, they should have driven this crossed spike through Aljosha. That'd be it. Kill the kommunism and Nochnoi Dozor vampires.

space_maze ütles ...

The Russians would complain anyway. I don't think there's any design you could have given that monument that they wouldn't have complained about. Not much to do there.

Indeed. The problem is, though, that this monument looks pompous and militaristic to non-Russian eyes as well. While I *know* that the cross isn't the Iron Cross, it certainly did conjure up images of German military symbols from the WWI era when I first saw this design. It does not strike me as "Estonian" in any way.

The problem, space_maze, is that monuments are necessary. The fact that most of Europe got over World War II doesn't mean there aren't monuments about it pretty much all over Europe. 'Getting over' doesn't mean forgetting; in fact, I'd go as far as saying that Europe should get over, but never forget, WWII (and its begin, WWI).

Yes, there are monuments to WWI and WWII all over Europe. But they're mostly half a century old - certainly the militaristic ones, that aren't dedicated to victims of a war.

I don't actually disagree with the fact that they built a monument in principle.

Myst ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Myst ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
balticfeatures ütles ...

Not sure I agree that the First World War lacks Biblical narrative. It strikes me as rather Old Testament.

plasma-jack ütles ...

I gather that both the Gospel and WWII had court scenes near the end, but I'm not sure that it would be very smart to continue the comparison... True, the main character was killed in both narratives.

Giustino ütles ...

"Ans Nicholas II begat Grand Duke Mikhail, who begat Prince Lvov, who begat Alexander Kerensky, who begat Lenin ..."

Inner monologue ütles ...

Happened to run into couple of Estonian emigrees on their way back from Laulupidu, boarding the plane in Copenhagen earlier today. I asked how did they like the monument. They didn't. Worried about estonians being naive and playing another good card to Russian propaganda machine. The darn thing looks too teutonic, if not to say fascist. Looks like Germans won the war not Estonians.
So thumbs down from them.

magister nyman ütles ...

I have only seen the monument at night, and I found it very beautiful and impressive. It does look a bit dull at daytime in the photos I have seen though.

I think there is a big diffence between war monuments being erected by small peoples who have achieved their freedom from large empires, and monuments erected by the great powers.

I consider this monument an important national symbol for the small Estonian people. It might be a bit old-fashioned, but since it is a memorial of the Estonian war of liberation, there is nothing wrong with using the style of that period.

Anti Romulus ütles ...

I bet even an image of rukkilill seems fascist to Russians. Or, at least, can be used as "a sign" of it in propaganda.

So why give a f***?

This seemingly endless typically Finno-Ugric wondering of "what the elephant thinks of us" is really quite tiresome.

We know what the monument celebrates, and what it does not. If Russians choose to assign a different meaning to it, well then that's just their problem.

Martin ütles ...

I think the monument if fine, I don't see it as militaristic at all.

The glass reminds us of the fragility of of peace and independence, and when it is lit at night it's like beacon showing the Estonian nation continues to exist.

space_maze ütles ...

I bet even an image of rukkilill seems fascist to Russians. Or, at least, can be used as "a sign" of it in propaganda.

So why give a f***?


I absolutely agree that what Russians might think of this monument is irrelevant. Estonians will be fascists no matter what they do, so why bother?

But most Estonians do genuinely care about their country's image in the so-called Western World. And the similarity of this statue to German military symbols will be equally obvious to Danes as it will be to Germans as it will be to Brits as it will be to Americans.

Every once in a while, Estonia could throw those of us trying to dispel Russian propaganda in Europe a bone :-P

(I also don't think that a big white cross on a column is the best symbol to express defeat over foreign occupiers that first came here to bring Christianity to those pagan Estonians.)

martintg ütles ...

A good thing that Estonia doesn't have a Cross of Freedom like this Finnish cross

Hmmmm... Here is a pic of Finnish President Tarja Halonen at a military ceremony, check out the flag

How come Moscow isn't jumping up and down over Finnish symbology?

space_maze ütles ...

The Finnish Air Force is totally fascist.

Kristopher ütles ...

There's a definite connection between touchy themes and the "comment deleted by author" "positus kustutatud" self-censorship. I'd love to read them, even if the poster thinks that he/she went too far.

stockholm slender ütles ...

I didn't really even thought about the "germanic" symbolism of the monument - I guess partly due to our own swastika (funny to think that every day the president is in town a swastika is flying over Helsinki...) Of course that has nothing to do with the Nazis or Germany in general and so with the Estonian symbols, that goes without saying. My own problem with the thing is rather the heavy and pompous style of the monument, surely victory for freedom (in a universal Western sense, I would think) could have a more stylish memorial, this being year 2009.

Jens-Olaf ütles ...
Autor on selle kommentaari eemaldanud.
Jens-Olaf ütles ...

I am living in Korea. On my bookshelf is a ring. Having an estonian officer's coat of arms. 0,5 cm of sice. Once is was part of a needle for the officer's suit. Then someone attached the emblem to a ring. This was the only estonian symbol my grandfather kept living for decades in the socialistic GDR. German Democratic Republic.

45years disconnected with his homeland a country he served once more than 20 years. He never liked military. Though he was recruited for several armies during 1917-1921 out of will.
Now there is a monument. After almoust 90 years. I don't want to judge. If there is a monument then there is a monument, now. That's it.

Inner monologue ütles ...

I was thinking ... if I were to wear a T-shirt with the image of this statue here in the U.S.A., I might all of the sudden get friendly smiles from Skinheads and other White Power enthusiasts. Not that I would have anything against it. Just a thought. Maybe I should try it out. Wear this image to a Klu Klux Klan march or something.

Not that I know when or where they hold their festivuses.

Anyway, the idea cracks me up. It's not like the Statue of Liberty, that's my point. This image is kick-ass.

I love controversy. So this statue is perfect. Very estonian. Very subversive and counter-culture. Definately not a mainstream.

Sharon ütles ...

Now, you see, this is why I like statues of figures for monuments. Something that looks like a person, or an animal, or a minor deity...

They're much more interesting to look at, and much easier to turn into characters for the purposes of political cartoons, etc.

Blokes riding horses and wielding weapons are always good value, but they've been over used. One day I'd love to see a freedom monument or a victory statue that involves a young girl riding a goat. Whilst making a daisy chain. If that doesn't symbolise freedom, I don't know what does.

By the way, I think you need to put less sugar in your breakfast cereal. Buildings coming to life and attacking each other with monuments?

Toomas M ütles ...

The monument commemorates the Estonian War of Independence. Those brave souls who fought this war came from three different generations… literally, from school children to the elderly. The symbol comprising the top of this monument is the Estonian Freedom Cross, http://et.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vabadusrist
which was the medal awarded to the Bravest of the Brave in this war.

But this monument is dedicated to all, without whom there would not be an Estonian nation.

This symbol is entirely suitable and right.

Those who object that it is
- too masculine or
- not modern enough
- likely to offend the Russian government
- too Germanic
- something skinheads in the USA would like
- etc.
are surely missing the point altogether.

I was at Laulupidu. I am a välis-eestlane (born in Sweden) and I love the monument.

Don’t ignore the fact that the Russians destroyed all the monuments dedicated to Estonian Independence within a very short time period after the beginning of their occupation of Estonia. This monument partially compensates that.

Oop ütles ...

I really, really like the girl on a goat. After all, there are all kinds of interesting monuments in the world. In Baden, I saw a monument of an unknown tourist: a guy with a camera and, if I recall correctly, with a small backpack, pointing his camera towards the thermae.

Vassili Aksjonov (I guess) described a small town in Russia where people decided to make a monument for Ivan Vladimirovich Michurin. As on the final moment before the opening some stranger told them Michurin was not a general in the Civil War but a botanist, there was not much room for changes. So, in the end, there was Michurin in a uniform, riding a horse, and in his outstretched hand was not a sabre, but - alas! - a beet root.

Myst ütles ...

This a monument for a war. War is not a feminine thing! Young girl riding on goat, playing with flowers?? I think the men who were engaged in battle would turn over in their grave, if that was how we commemorated their fight!

And another thing. However secure we feel now, one day the Rus will try again. Of that, I am sure. When that day comes, our Defence Forces will have to well prepared, and so does our spirit. Our young men will have to be tough as bone, because they will be outnumbered. Having a statue for our finest fighting hour that's feminine would not exactly be helpful...

But here's an idea for a helpful "pretty and feminine" monument. In the former place of the Bronze Soldier, we could have a beautiful field of flowers. And a statue of a man picking the flowers. And next to him, a statue of his brother, on his knees, being shot in the head like a rabic dog.

Because 1939 has to be f-ing remembered too!

Anyway, that's my view. ;)

Myst ütles ...

PS. I'm fully aware that nowadays there are more humane ways to put terminally ill animals out of their misery. ;-) It was just an expression. And if my post was slightly shocking - well, it was intended to be! For your own good - and mine. :-P

Oop ütles ...

This a monument for a war. War is not a feminine thing! There should be a young man riding on goat, playing with flowers.

plasma-jack ütles ...

I was at Laulupidu. I am a välis-eestlane (born in Sweden) and I love the monument.

I am an Estonian (born in Tallinn) and I daresay, a patriot, who thinks that this monument sucks. But I didn't go to Laulupidu, so I guess you win. Enjoy the cross.

Toomas M ütles ...

In regard to my post, plasma-jack commented: I am an Estonian (born in Tallinn) and I daresay, a patriot, who thinks that this monument sucks. But I didn't go to Laulupidu, so I guess you win. Enjoy the cross.

But before addressing Jack’s comment, let me say that I was responding to Giustino’s … I haven't met anybody yet who *loves* the võidusammas.

And also to Inner monologue’s Happened to run into couple of Estonian emigrees on their way back from Laulupidu, boarding the plane in Copenhagen earlier today. I asked how did they like the monument. They didn't.

Therefore, I mentioned I “loved” the monument and also that I’m an Estonian born abroad.

As for Jack’s comment? Well Jack’s English is commendable… pretty damn near perfect. As for his sense of irony? Putting me down in such an elegant manner? Just too much. Beats the typical Russian swearing and threats and foul mouthed comments anytime!

My only complaint about Jack is that he considers himself a middle-of-the-roader… someone neither left-nor-right, like Leonard Cohen. And expresses himself as such.

plasma-jack ütles ...

I shouldn't write when drunk. It's not like I'm that bitter about the monument. I just wish they had put it on Tiskre beach, not on the border of Old Town.

plasma-jack ütles ...

Don’t ignore the fact that the Russians destroyed all the monuments dedicated to Estonian Independence within a very short time period after the beginning of their occupation of Estonia. This monument partially compensates that.

There's plenty of nice monuments dedicated to War of Independence everywhere in Estonia. You´ve probably seen that one

Kristopher ütles ...

The timing of the monument is no good. The only thing worse would have been to put up our own human form symbolizing the brave men (who would have probably also looked just like Palusalu).

Estonia is a far more sophisticated and worldly and ironically detached (in a good way) place. We gave the world semiotics, or at least made it cool. Estonia is a place where you discuss the meta-meaning of symbols in cafes over Skype, not build new static monuments. And certainly not, in the middle of a recession, waste taxpayer money paying Slavs to carve glass into an ambiguous shape and putting it in the middle of town -- as if it's the last word.

Kristopher ütles ...

Slaves. I meant slaves. Nothing against the Slavs (have significant Slavic blood myself).

Myst ütles ...

What a bizarre correction you've made, Kristopher. :-)

Kristopher ütles ...

Just didn't want to have the last word.

space_maze ütles ...

Well, "slaves" DOES come from "Slavs" :-)

This a monument for a war. War is not a feminine thing! Young girl riding on goat, playing with flowers?? I think the men who were engaged in battle would turn over in their grave, if that was how we commemorated their fight!

In democratic societies, armies are *always* tools - means to an end. How could something symbolizing be an insult to the soldiers when freedom was the end they were fighting for?

Also, they're dead. Where is your Estonian pragmatism? ;-)

Toomas M ütles ...

Plasma-jack wrote: There's plenty of nice monuments dedicated to War of Independence everywhere in Estonia.

Touché!

If indeed you meant that there are monuments that are “nice” in the artistic sense and that have been re-erected.

In case you didn’t realize that the monument you linked to is one of the “taastatud” ones, then consider this.

There were over 150 monuments dedicated to Eesti’s Vabadussõda and the vast majority were destroyed or ruined. Not all have been re-erected like the one jack points out.

Have a gander at this story:

http://paber.ekspress.ee/viewdoc/266851090B9FC7C4C2257273003A71EA

And no… I’m not trying to have the last word. But I am amazed at the civility and high intellectual level of all of your comments. Not to mention the remarkably good English.

plasma-jack ütles ...

There's compensating and there's overcompensating, Toomas. The occupation is over, it can't be further undone by creating more monuments, if that was your point.

Troels-Peter ütles ...

Luckily I was familiar with the Estonian Vabadusristi before I heard about this monument and its design. Therefore, I avoided having any other associations than simply "the Freedom Cross" or "Freedom" when I saw it.

I was surprised to learn, though, that it is not actually a freedom monument like the one in Riga (which I consider extremely beautiful), but a victory monument. But of course the Vabadusristi must be associated with both notions - to the extent that it is known at all. How well known is this order in Estonia?

I actually like both the design and the materials now that I have seen and touched it. But the SIZE?!

Lingüista ütles ...

Toomas, though I probably agree with you more than with others here -- I tend to like the monument, which I see as typical of its kind -- I can also see the points some of the others are trying to make.

True, saying that the monument is "too masculine", "not modern", "likely to offend the Russian government" etc. is missing the point.

But it's also true that the symbolism of this monument can and will be misinterpreted -- and not only by the Russians, who would misinterpret anything, but by others as well.

Probably the Estonian government shouldn't go as far as choosing a girl riding a goat while making a daisy chain (though I can see the piont here too -- freedom is this beautiful wonderful thing that justifies the death of all those courageous fighters; it's the sun rising after the darkness of occupation, etc.). And all in all I also like the shape of the current monument, as I've said above. Still... I can understand those who say that having chosen this particular shape will make it a wee bit harder for pro-Estonian advocates abroad to insist there is no Nazi imagery in it. And that is a pity.

plasma-jack ütles ...

I was surprised to learn, though, that it is not actually a freedom monument like the one in Riga (which I consider extremely beautiful), but a victory monument.

Good point, especially because Vabaduse väljak (Freedom square) was called Võidu väljak (Victory square) during the Soviet era.

Troels-Peter ütles ...

I didn't even think of that. What is the monument generally called by Estonians?

plasma-jack ütles ...

Vabadusrist? (the cross of freedom)

Frank ütles ...

Can´t help to line out once more: the Eestimaalased or Esthlanders or Baltic Germans tied to Estonia were part of Estonia´s forces (among other minorities and members of friendly nations) that fought for Estonia´s liberty and helped to establish it in the end. Overthrowing of the Landeswehr was not the big issue, and the Landeswehr was already in a pitiable state when it met with Estonian forces. The big issue was to stop the Bolshevik assault and imperialism. Praise to the Kaitseministeerium and their information policy as to be viewed at youtube:
"The Estonian military forces included Estonians, local Baltic Germans, Russians, Swedes, Latvians, Jews and representatives of other nations."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJeDMBzEDuk&feature=related