The Bronze Soldier
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In the centre of Tallinn's Old Town, survives one of the only remaining Soviet monuments that wasn't removed from the city after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. Commemorating the Russian soldiers who died liberating (or occupying, depending who you talk to) the Estonians from Nazi occupation, the tomb and bronze sculpture of a Soviet soldier have never ceased to be a controversial part of Tallinn's cultural makeup. A rallying point for Russian nationalists and the site of many sometimes-ugly protests and demonstrations, the debate over the future of the Bronze Soldier has recently reopened thanks to new legislation that would allow its removal.
Editor & Tallinn Local
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to Zuruspa from Portugal:
to what "heroic deeds" are you refering to? The Soviets were anything but heroic, except maybe to each other. For almost 50 years they decimated the Estonian people and their culture. They're lucky they're being allowed to stay in Estonia. How DARE you consider their deeds heroic.
The monument is NOT fully restored, the wall is now lower and narrower than before, and lacking the sculpture of the Order of the Patriotic War behind the Bronze Soldier (awarded to all soldiers in the Soviet armed forces, security troops, and to partisans for heroic deeds during the World War II. Just check ANY photo from 2006).
The Bronze Soldier has now been completely restored in its new location at a military cemetery on the outskirts of Tallinn. The bodies of 8 soldiers exhumed from beneath the monument's former site in Tonismagi has been relocated with the monument, while the remains of four other soldiers were sent to Russia to be buried with their families.
redressing many years of wrongs against the estonian people with new wrongs against the russian population will only leave both sides frustrated and impotent - and violence only makes things worse. it's up to the sovereign estonian government to decide what to do with historical monuments in their country; and though their decision was nationalistic and a bit petty, it should be respected, and not used as an excuse to riot.
Leave the statue ! it is a fine piece of Bronze sculpture ! it doesnt matter who made it. and not ALL Soviet troopers were stalinist pigs !
A lot of the russians who are rioting here in Estonia dont know the historical background...Do you understand what the regime did to our country? (ten thousand people(including women and children)in 1941 and even more in 1949!) Not to mention the demolishing of our own symbols (concerning our culture). Our monuments were savagely dismantled and censorship was everywhere (among other terrifieng acts). The Sovie regime was devastating for us, we estonians have never approved it. Many russians were intergrated to estonia during the occupation, now the offspring of them are rioting on the streets.
To russians: the bronze soldier has become (during the past years) a place where you gather and some of you even show red flags and sing the Soviet anthem. Try to understand the situation from our viewpoint. Do you know how a estonian feels when you wave your red flags and burn our flags on our own independent land?! Do you approve communism too? Remember: in a democratic country its ok to commemorate your love ones, noone objects. But its not a wargrave for you anymore, its a place to make political statements. And thats completely wrong. Picures of the riot:
Today I read that in Himki (Russia) a wargrave was desroyed. I do not understand: while you do not even bother moving your WWII monuments(you destroy them), why do you make huge deal here in Estonia (and also we are moving the statue away from the downtown area of Tallinn (we are not destoying it!!)).
Russian people, please before you act, learn the historical background that concerns the relations between Estonia and Russia and the regime. Think please! Read international sources not the ones in Russia, because a lot of them might be censored.
Hoping for peace...