This monument is officially titled the “Monument for the Liberators of Tallinn”; however, the local Estonians derisively refer to it as “Aljosa”, or the “Bronze Soldier”.  It was dedicated on September 21, 1947.  The bronze statue was cast by Enn Roos and the architect was Arnold Alas - both Estonians.  There has been some conjecture as to who the soldier was modeled after, but the face resembles that of a famous Estonian sportsman of the late 1930s.  An Eternal Flame was lit in front of the monument in 1964, which was extinguished in 1991 when Estonia broke away from the USSR.  The Estonian government determined that there were 14 bodies buried by the monument.


This monument has been controversial for the local Estonians throughout its history because they view it as a celebration of Soviet conquest and occupation, while the Russians consider it as an heroic symbol of their defeat of fascism during WW II.  Each May 9, the Russians celebrate their “День Победа”, “Day of Victory” by gathering by this monument with flowers to sing old songs, like “Katusha”, and to recall the valor of their troops during WW II.  However, the Estonians feel that during the past decades these gatherings have taken on a more political motivation of instilling Russian nationalism in the Russian residents of Estonia.


The 2007 decision by the Estonian government to relocate this monument from a busy street corner in the center of Tallinn to the dignified Tallinn Military Cemetery led to looting,  riots, and vandalism by some misguided Russian hooligans in various towns of Estonia. 

“For those who perished in the Second World War”

Russians soldiers, sailors and airmen killed in WW II, or the veterans, are buried at this solemn military cemetery in Tallinn, Estonia, alongside the Estonians who fought them to keep their country free from Soviet occupation.  Many of the Russian tombstones have pictures of the deceased in their full military regalia replete with Soviet orders and medals.

“Papirosi” (Russian WW II era cigarets) for an old comrade.

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Left - Original location on a busy street intersection in the center of Tallinn.  The day is May 9th, “День Победа”, “Day of Victory”.  Soon the entire monument would be surrounded by flowers.  New generation sings war-era songs, and the old war veterans would remember their parted comrades. The new location at the Tallinn Military Cemetery is a much more dignified location away from the street noise and fumes. 

“День Победа”, “Day of Victory” over the Germans in WW II. Laying flowers by the thousands.  Interestingly, some ladies I worked with who I thought were Estonians, turned out to be Russians when I saw them here.

Other grave sites of Russian war dead in Estonia

Memorial on Saaremaa to the Russian and Estonian troops of the Red Army who launch an amphibian assault on the island of Saaremaa in 1944.  Hundreds of Red Army troops were killed in the assault.

New generation of young Russian army troops marching by the Kremlin to replace those who have gone before them.

Tsarist period St. Giorgi (George) Cross with original ribbon and suspension. Awarded for valor in combat.  Replicas of the St. Giorgi orange and black ribbon are used by the Russians to commemorate the “День Победа”, “Day of Victory”.  The Russian Federation has designated this ribbon their 2009 “victory” campaign symbol.

RUSSIAN WW II DEAD IN TALLINN MILITARY CEMETERY

“Katyusha”, unknown singer.  Katyusha is the most famous and popular Russian war-time song. It’s about a girl who goes to the river bank to sing about her love for her soldier. 

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