About the project


The International Museum for The Victims of Communism is the first global institution to be developed and built with a focus on examining the international crimes of communism through objective, fact-based research.

The International Museum for the Victims of Communism and Research Centre of Communist Crimes is to be established in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, led by the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory with the support of the Government of Estonia and leading remembrance institutions in Europe and beyond.

The museum will be built within the Patarei fortification complex that was used by both the Soviet and the Nazi regimes throughout the XX century, located on the shores of the Gulf of Finland in the heart of Tallinn. The museum will introduce crimes committed by both the Soviet and Nazi regimes, with the main focus on the machinery, ideology and crimes of communist regimes, moving from a local overview, to the events in Europe, to a global scale.

While Patarei is one of the strongest symbols of Soviet political terror for Estonians, it is also an international monumental memorial that helps to understand the inhuman nature of totalitarian regimes, irrespective of the specific state power, indicating with sinister clarity as to why it is imperative to avoid their recurrence.

The museum is planned to an approximately 5,000 square meter (65,000 square feet) area in the eastern part of the building, with authentic prison cells, an execution chamber, corridors, a prison lean with prisoners’ walkways and much more.

The museum and centre will bring together a diverse international coalition of trusted regional and international memory institutions, researchers, experts and thinkers on the crimes of totalitarian regimes. Governments and media who seek facts and information can contact the museum and centre as an international nexus for information about the crimes of communism.

The idea of establishing a museum in Patarei Prison was first proposed in 1989 in the sociological working group of the Eesti Kultuurifond (Estonian Cultural Foundation).

The initiative for establishing the museum and a research centre operating in association with the museum was made public on 23 August 2017 at the international conference held in Tallinn on the Europe-wide day of remembrance for the victims of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. The representatives of eight European countries adopted a joint resolution at the conference for the establishment of an international institution for researching the crimes of communism. It was also decided in the resolution to convene a corresponding team of experts.

Since 1998, the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory and its predecessor has researched the international crimes and violations of human rights committed in Estonia by regimes hostile to mankind, along with the totalitarian ideologies that have generated such regimes. Through the results of its research and its publicity work, the Institute also supports the rejection of regimes hostile to mankind in the 21st century as well, and actively participates in educational and publicity work.