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Estonia extends note on Tõnismägi remains to Russia


On Monday, the 7th of May, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia extended a note to the Ambassador of the Russian Federation, Mr. Nikolai Uspenski, informing him that the remains found at Tõnismägi most probably belong to Soviet soldiers. 

The research data from the Bureau of Forensic Medicine of Estonia confirms that twelve adult individuals were buried at Tõnismägi. From external observations, nine of the individuals can be confirmed as being male. Upon receipt of the DNA results, final confirmation and details will be forwarded.

When compared, the positions of the remains and grave markers correspond to the burial positions shown in photographs dating to the original interment. Therefore, we can assume that the recently exhumed remains found at Tõnismägi belong to the twelve individuals buried there in 1945, according to a certificate commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and compiled in 2006, which also provides fourteen probable names for the individuals.

The reburial ceremony for these twelve individuals is scheduled to take place in the second half of June at the Estonian Defence Forces cemetery on 14 Filtri Road. In preparation for the ceremony, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested the Russian Embassy to inform the Estonian authorities by the 7th of June of close relatives of the deceased who would like to participate. The travel expenses of two close relatives of each of the deceased will be covered by the Estonian State.

Estonia is interested in identifying the remains, which can be achieved by comparing the DNA of the remains with those of close biological relatives. To this end, Estonia is asking Russia to provide the DNA profile of two close relatives for each of the exhumed individuals. Estonia will reimburse the expenses of collating and analysing these DNA profiles.

Additionally, Estonia will provide for any DNA analysis of likely close relatives residing in Estonia. These persons living in Estonia should contact the Estonian Red Cross for more detailed information.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs requests the Russian Federation to forward all information concerning close relatives living in Russia via the Russian Embassy in Tallinn.

The Embassy of the Russian Federation has been requested to forward the necessary information as soon as possible, as final preparations for the reburial ceremony will be made by the 7th of June.

The public will be informed in detail of the identification process by the end of this week.

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