Bush to defend Russians?

President George Bush is heading over to Tallinn in a little over a week and the unlikely world leader may be asked to play the role of mediator in an ongoing dispute between Estonia's Russian and Estonian communities.

For some time now the Estonian community, led by Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, have campaigned for the removal of the Bronze Soldier statue, which commemorates Soviet soldiers who died fighting the Nazis, from the town centre.

For Estonians the monument represents Soviet Occupation and not the liberation of their country from the Nazi shroud. Recent months have seen the monument repeatedly vandalized by Estonian patriots affronted by its very presence.

However the large Russian community (about 40 percent of Tallinn's population is Russian) are fighting this removal, claiming that the commemoration of those that died at war should be sacred. An argument which they support by quoting the 1949 Geneva Convention which stipulates that respect for those who fell in a war must not depend on opinions on the war's nature.

The Russian Community have written to President Bush, so it remains to see if George will invoke his legendary diplomatic prowess to mediate the dispute...


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