Soviet military heritage: brown and green – recovery and enhancement

Henri Jarv, A. Raukas, Kalev Sepp, Janar Raet, Raymond Ward

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


Estonia has been for centuries a strategically important area in Eastern Europe, in particular due to its relatively long coastline (including islands about 3800 km). Therefore it has been subject to military invasions by various foreign powers. Each of them has built numerous military facilities, most of which originate from the Second World War or subsequent Soviet occupation period. Almost the whole coastal area of Estonia and large inland areas were in use by the military and closed to the public. The Soviet military had left behind both, green and brown heritage. After the withdrawal of Russian troops, Estonia regained control of approximately 87,000 hectares of land formerly under the military control, suffering from a high pollution load. Conversely, the military presence and strict limitations left large areas in a natural state largely untouched by human activities. After regaining independence 40 new protected areas were established in Estonian Green Belt zone, which was heavily guarded Soviet military territory in Estonia. In Estonia the regional differences are considerable. The pristine natural environment and valuable objects of cultural heritage are considered to be strongest advantages for the development of rural areas, thus it is extremely important that former military sites are remediated and made safe. After the collapse of the Soviet Union the extent and character of pollution caused by the Soviet military was studied. This article provides an overview of the extent of the pollution, the recovery of brownfield sites as well as green heritage.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStructural studies, repairs and maintenance of heritage architecture
EditorsC. Brebbia
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherWIT Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781845647315
ISBN (Print)9781845647308
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Publication series

NameWIT Transactions on The Built Environment


  • green belt
  • Estonia
  • military heritage
  • rural development
  • land remediation
  • protected areas
  • soviet military
  • abandonment
  • military pollution


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