Reburying the Past

Eight of the infamous twelve (or 13 according to the latest Moscow conspiracy theory) Russian soldiers exhumed from central Tallinn were finally re-put to rest after a stressful month and a half during with they were the unwitting catalysts of inflamed Estonian-Russian tensions. The row began when Estonia's government announced its determination to exhume the soldiers and move them along with the Bronze Soldier monument to a military cemetery on the outskirts of Tallinn. It exploded into a riot April 26 and 27th during which dozens were injured, one Russian was killed and over 1000 people were detained.

The remains of the other exhumees were transferred to Russia to be buried with their families. One of them, nurse Yelena Varshavskaya, who was killed in a battle near Tallinn September 22, 1944, was reburied in the world's oldest Jewish cemetery in Jerusalem.

After a crackdown at the border barred several Russians suspected of trouble-making from entering the country this past week, the ceremony went on agreeably and without incident. Before the ceremony, the Russian embassy in Tallinn made it clear that they would not attend; their example was followed by the Russian Orthodox Church and WWII vets in Estonia, who rather irreverently displayed their refusal to give up the issue of the monument's removal which has now been officially, literally been put to bed. Guess those fallen comrades everyone got so bent out of shape about didn't deserve the respect of their countrymen's presence when finally receiving a proper burial.


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