Friday, 27 April 2007

Bronze soldier or Russia vs Estonia 1st round

It started... Show has started. A lot of talking was done, a lot of time has passed and last night famous Bronze soldier was removed from the centre of Tallinn.

Sadly this process was framed in the outrage of hooligans that broke windows and burned kiosks. One person died and 44 were injured, clashes were registered between police and protesters that gathered around the bronze soldier for their goodbyes, or actually in order to incite violence...
Duma is furious, they are calling for an end of diplomatic relations, for sanctions...
It is pathetic! Russian helicopter was down in Chechnya and all Duma discusses is Bronze soldier. Little bird whispered that some weeks ago there was a type of Bronze soldier removed in one of the cities close to Moscow, Chimki. There were no resolutions for that in the Parliament, neither violence in the streets. Monument was disturbing the foreseen building of apartment blocks in this ban-lieu of Moscow.
My colleague produced an explanatory note on the issue, which I would like to share with those that would wish to hear and listen to Estonian perspective on an issue that is dominated by propaganda and misgivings.

"As recent developments in Estonia concerning the Tõnismäe Second World War Memorial in Tallinn have arisen several questions and some of you have asked what is going on with this statute and weather the signals from Russia that we are doing something completely unethical and against the international laws, I hereby send you a short description of this complicated issue. Background information is attached for the ones who would like to know more about the historical developments and reasoning behind it.

  • Ensuring that the final resting place of the deceased, including those who have died in battle, is peaceful and decent is in Estonia’s view inherent and essential.
  • Tõnismägi is clearly not suitable as a final resting place. During the Soviet occupation, a public transport bus and trolley stop was built on part of the site. And in the past year, political activists have held numerous mass meetings there. Essentially people are being allowed to tread on a grave site, which is by any standard objectionable and cannot be allowed to continue.
  • Based on a recommendation made by the War Graves Commission, the Minister of Defence has decided that work should start on identifying the war graves believed to be located on Tõnismägi. There is sufficient archival evidence indicating that 12 people are buried at this location.
  • If human remains are indeed discovered at the site, then they will be reburied at an appropriate location – the Garrison Cemetery in central Tallinn. At the same time, the so-called Bronze Soldier war memorial will also be relocated to the Garrison Cemetery.
    Servicemen and soldiers killed in action, including Estonian, British and Russian soldiers, have been buried in the Garrison Cemetery already since the 19th century.
  • All works will be carried out in accordance with Estonia laws, international law (including the relevant Geneva convention) and good practice.
  • Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to sign a bilateral war graves agreement between Estonia and Russia. Russian representatives have also been unwilling to cooperate with Estonia on the Tõnismägi war graves site.
  • Estonia will inform Russia of any remains that are found at the site and of their reburial so that Russia, as the country of citizenship, can inform any known relatives of the findings. The relatives as well as official representatives of the Russian Federation will be welcome to attend the reburial ceremony.
  • Estonia’s aim is to ensure that those who died in the war have a proper last resting place. It is regrettable that this is being used as a pretext for disseminating false and antagonistic propaganda.
  • The misinformation campaign that Russia has launched in not only aimed at discrediting Estonia. Russian diplomats in Estonia have also actively led and organized the activities of political fringe groups. The Estonian security services have ascertained that the likely war graves on Tõnismägi and their marker are being used as a pretext for inciting hatred. This information has been made know to the wider public."


an Estonian girl said...

The Bronze soldier was NOT cut in pieces, it has been relocated to a more suitable place in the military cemetery..

Just felt I needed to correct the facts:)

Pedro said...

As you know much better than me (you introduced me to this question), the issue is not the statue or the cemetery, but the status of the Russian "minority" in Estonia.

Until this issue is solved, I believe that these tensions, for whatever reason, will only increase!