Russian missile destroyed memorial tablet to an Estonian in a Ukrainian school

Loora-Elisabet Lomp
, Eesti uudiste päevatoimetaja
A shot of the building of the Kharkiv Pedagogical Institute after the Russian air attack.
A shot of the building of the Kharkiv Pedagogical Institute after the Russian air attack. Photo: VYACHESLAV MADIYEVSKYY

Russian missile strike destroyed the Pedagogical University in Kharkiv, on the wall of which there was a plaque commemorating Jaan Räppo, a cultural figure of Võru county. Räppo is credited with the authorship of the lyrics of the song «Haanja mees» while his wife translated «Kalevipoeg» into Ukrainian.

On the night of July 6, the Russian military bombed Grigori Skovorody University of Pedagogy in Kharkiv. A security guard was killed.

There was a plaque commemorating Jaan Räppo on the wall of the university. In 1974, the Haanja school was named after Jaan Räppo, and it was the first school named after a well-known person in Võru district at that time.

Räppo is the founder of Ukraine's modern school system, and his legacy of school reform which began in the 1920s continues to be honored in Ukraine. He was also the Deputy Minister of Education of the Ukrainian SSR. Jaan's wife, Anfissa Räppo, translated the Estonian national epic «Kalevipoeg» into Ukrainian.

It is noteworthy about the Ukrainian issue of «Kalevipoeg» that it was published only in 1981, while Anfissa Räppo had died already in 1973. The Soviet-era system suspected both the Räppos and the author of the national epic, Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald. It is said that the Estonian SSR officials convinced the Ukrainian SSR officials years after Anfissa Räppo's death that the epic was worth publishing.

In Estonia, Jaan Räppo is known as the author of the songs «Haanja miis vidi lubjakivve...» and «Katõ ilma veere pääl» (known as the Seto anthem). Jaan had written the «Haanja miis…» song already while a pupil of the Võru town school in 1897.