Veterans of the 1979-1989 Soviet-Afghanistan war, together with family members of those who fell, and representatives of public organizations, marked the 31st anniversary of the end of the conflict at Kivila Park in the Lasnamäe district of Tallinn on Saturday.
A wreath-laying ceremony took place at a memorial stone to the war, which saw well over a thousand Estonians, and residents of what was then the Estonian SSR, drafted in to serve.
“For most of the soldiers serving in a distant … country, including those drafted from Estonia, the Afghan war became a part of history,” said Oleg Kulikov of the Tallinn veteran’s union of Afghanistan, ERR’s online Russian portal reports.
“This era played an vital role and left its mark on the fate of an entire generation. Unfortunately, not everyone was destined to return home. Today we recall those Estonians who gave their young lives thousands of kilometers from their home. The duty of the living is to remember,” he went on.
The memorial stone itself was placed at its site in 2006.
According to several sources, more than 1,600 men from Estonia were drafted into serving in the ten-year war, with close to 40 never returning home. The Soviet Union’s ultimate exit from the war is thought by many to have been a contributing factor to its collapse. Estonia’s singing revolution got in full swing the same year – 1989; independence became a reality in August 1991.
The anniversary closely follows the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the war, also marked by ERR.