The stage and screen were set up 200 meters away from the river promenade in Russia where people gathered to listen to music with flowers, binoculars, and other items.
Narva used to be a place where thousands would gather every year on May 9th, when Russia celebrated Soviet Victory Day, marking the end of World War Two. But the events have been banned since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, and the Soviet war monuments removed.
The governments of Estonia, along with those of Latvia and Lithuania in the Baltic region, view the Soviet victory of 1945 as a continuation of the brutal occupation their lands underwent after they were annexed by the Soviet Union in the year 1940. They are now members of NATO and European Union and among the most ardent supporters of Ukraine.
On May 9, organised public gatherings in Estonia were prohibited. The public display of patriotic Russian icons such as the black and orange St. George’s Ribbon was also prohibited. A fine of up 1200 euros ($1,316) could be imposed.
On the wall of the Narva Castle, facing the concert stage, a large banner displaying the words “Putin-War Criminal” and a picture of swollen Russian President was displayed.
Kalmer Janno is the head of community police at Narva Police Station. He said that Russian police tried to get their Estonian counterparts to remove it but they refused.
It’s a celebration of our fathers, our grandfathers. We remember our grandfathers. How can we miss this? Irina said, aged 62, as she watched the concert in Russia on the stage, which was decorated in the colours of the St. George’s Ribbon.
This is a holy celebration for everyone. “It’s a shame Estonia didn’t celebrate it this year,” added she.
A number of people who attended the Russian concert expressed their desire to not live in the Russian part. Nelli, aged 75, said: “I have lived in this country for 50 years. My motherland is right here.”
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