On the 21st of September 2018, a memorial to Arnold Meri was unveiled behind the eastern border in Dno city, Pskov Oblast.
The wording on the monument states that in July 1941, on this same spot, Meri, a deputy political officer of the communications unit of the Red Army held a defensive position against a „Fascist beach landing“, was wounded and awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Additionally it calls for passersby’s to bow their heads in honour because this hero’s deeds are immortal.
The stone has no reference to Arnold Meri’s second infamous notoriety – in 1949, he participated in the organizing of mass deportations in Hiiumaa. There was a criminal case initiated against Meri in 2007 in this regard, where he was charged with genocide. The Process was not completed due to his death in 2009. Meri acknowledged participation in mass deportations but did not consider his role in it to have been significant.
The unveiling of the memorial stone in Russia is not only an undertaking of aging war veterans but was also supported by the Russian government through the local government. The event is directly an imperialistic take on history and the propaganda of a large nation. It is not an accident that the word „ Fascist“ is woven into the text. Arnold Meri was a lifetime instrumental member of the „anti-fascist movement“ in Estonia, representing the Kremlin’s disruptive political network. The accusation of Fascism is however, a common complaint of Estonia heard in the Russian media.
Plans to unveil an Arnold Meri memorial have also been held in Estonia. The last such event was discussed for example in 2017, when the idea of erecting another object, which could be disruptive to our society, was discussed by Kremlin propagandist, Dmitri Linter.
The unveiling of the stone did not receive special attention in the media. The Pihkva Oblast homepage and the local newspaper wrote about it. The Russian propaganda channels Regnum, Sputnik and Baltnews marked the event.
Postimees and Delfi also published the story in their Russian language editions. Curiously, these Estonian media channels used the same wording as the Russian propaganda media when describing the events. Meri is titled as a hero, a fighter against neo-fascists; his actions are a role model for younger generations. Absolutely nothing is written about his role in mass deportations.
Propastop considers this one sided propagandistic information unacceptable and hopes that the Estonian press will be able to enlighten its Russian speaking readers also about the darker side of this controversial person.
To readers interested in history, we refer to the Pekka Erelt article in Eesti Express that gives a fresh look at the events related to the memorial.
Photo: Screenshot of the mentioned article in the story