Estonia's Victims of Communism 1940–1991

Estonia lost every fifth person of its population of slightly over a million as a consequence of the terror imposed by the occupying regime.

A total of over 75,000 people from Estonia were murdered, imprisoned or deported. The Memorial to the victims of communism is dedicated to all of them!

The people and nation of Estonia established the Memorial in 2018 in memory of Estonia’s victims of communism.

Statute – Estonia’s Victims of Communism Memorial

After the occupation of Estonia in 1940, the communist regime of the Soviet Union began the murder, imprisonment, and deportation of Estonian people on political grounds. Estonia’s Victims of Communism Memorial (hereinafter Memorial) was established in 2018 in commemoration of victims of communism and in remembrance of the consequences of communist terror. Based on the §51 section 1 of the Persons Repressed by Occupying Powers Act, and order no. 207 issued by the Estonian Government on 23 August 2018, ‘Designation of a competent administrative body to publish the personal data of repressed persons and those with an equivalent status’, I hereby declare the following principles (the Memorial’s statute) on the publication of data on the Memorial:

  1. Victims of communism commemorated on the Memorial are persons that were Estonian citizens or permanent residents of Estonia prior to Estonia’s occupation on 17 June 1940, and who, from 1940–1991, were:
    1.1. convicted on political grounds by the regime of the Soviet Union, and were rehabilitated according to the legislation of the Republic of Estonia (‘Act on the rehabilitation of extrajudicially repressed and groundlessly convicted persons’, Riigi Teataja (RT) 1992, 7, 103; RT I 1993, 76, 1128), as well as persons that were arrested on political grounds, but whose case did not reach adjudication;
    1.2. convicted by the regime of the Soviet Union and have since been rehabilitated by the Supreme Court of Estonia, according to §5 of the ‘Act on the rehabilitation of extrajudicially repressed and groundlessly convicted persons’, because it has been verified that the basis of their conviction was the struggle for the independence of the Republic of Estonia, or fighting against the injustice bestowed upon the Estonian people;
    1.3. repressed extrajudicially, including deported persons (sent to forced settlement) and children born in settlement, as well as persons that were designated to be deported but whom the occupying regime did not succeed in deporting;
    1.4. persons murdered for political reasons (they were considered opponents of Soviet regime) on their apprehension (including Forest Brothers killed in raids) or extrajudicially, excluding victims of war;
    1.5. persons who died in Soviet prisoner of war camps or filtration camps.
  2. The name, time of birth and death of the victim of communism is listed on the Memorial’s commemoration wall. Perished victims of communism are persons who died or were killed in imprisonment, on their apprehension, or in settlement, including persons in whose case it has been verified that although they were freed, they were not allowed to return to their homeland, or lacked such an opportunity. The names of perished victims of communism that have been determined after the Memorial’s opening on 23 August 2018 are inscribed on the supplementary plaques of the Memorial wall. No changes will be made in the data listed on the Memorial wall. Corrections and additions concerning the data of perished victims will be published electronically.
  3. The officer’s memorial lists the names of regular officers and members of the defence forces (equated to regular officers) of the Republic of Estonia who died as victims of communism. The names as well as dates of birth and death of Estonian officers, who participated in the War of Independence, are listed by ranking as well. Furthermore, information on whether an officer had been awarded a Cross of Liberty will be noted on the Memorial.
  4. The data concerning all victims of communism, as stated in item 1, will be published electronically.
  5. The Memorial does not include the data of those victims of communism who:
    5.1. according to known data participated in genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes;
    5.2. were members of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union before 1954, staff members of repressive organisations, or members of destruction battalions.