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Revolt against socialism
Revolt against socialism

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It isn’t so unusual for teenagers to engage in some light vandalism in their youth, perhaps a little graffiti just to prove to the world that they exist. But in 1946, fourteen year-old students Aili Jurgenson and Ageeda Paavel had so much more planned than just graffiti. A Soviet war memorial stood in their hometown of Tallinn, and the girls didn’t like it. So, they blew it up.

Aili and Ageeda were not terrorists. For years they, along their fellow Estonians, had watched Soviet troops march through their countryside and occupy their home. The empire, not content with the usual annihilation of the local economy and smothering of all free press, was systematically blowing up Estonia’s treasured war memorials and cemeteries. The memorials were tribute to the fallen soldiers in Estonia’s War for Independence.

The heartbreak and rage the Estonians must have felt is unimaginable. These petite teen girls simply could not endure it anymore, and fought back the only way they knew how. They demolished the 'Liberators’ Monument' with dynamite. “How long should we watch this red star, a memorial for Russian looters?” Aili recalls. “We decided that if such robbers are raging in Estonia, they should see how one of their memorials gets blown up. We could have just doused the wooden thing with gasoline and set fire to it, but we wanted it to go with a bang!”

The newspapers didn’t even report the vandalism, but everyone in Tallinn knew. Inspired, other Estonians blew up Soviet memorials in other towns. Though it would be decades before the self-dubbed ‘liberators’ finally left, Aili and Ageeda had roused the country with their courage and their patriotism. And all before they could even legally drive.