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MEP horrified at events in Tallinn

Latvian MEP Tatjana Zdanoka - whose party represents the country's substantial Russian speaking community - has expressed her outrage at events overnight in Tallinn, Estonia, where work is underway to dismantle and move a monument to the liberation of Tallinn from the Nazis and excavate a war grave.

Latvian MEP Tatjana Zdanoka

Latvian MEP Tatjana Zdanoka

Estonian authorities are taking down and moving the monument to Soviet soldiers who liberated Tallinn from the Nazis and reburying the remains of Soviet soldiers which lie nearby. There is anger amongst the Russian speaking community in the Baltic at the removal of a memorial to Red Army soldiers died liberating Europe from fascism.

The monument to the liberation of Tallinn from the Nazis

The monument to the liberation of Tallinn from the Nazis

Ms Zdanoka is particularly concerned at reports of Estonian police brutality towards protestors at the site of the monument. There are reports of beatings, with one person having been hospitalised and several arrested. There are also reports that protestors and two journalists travelling from Riga were denied entry to Estonia.

The MEP has raised the matter in the European Parliament.

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week, Tatjana Zdanoka said:

"I should like to draw your attention to the scandalous process in Tallinn. The Estonian authorities are preparing to remove from the city centre the graves of soldiers who died in battle liberating Tallinn from the fascist occupiers in September 1944 and the monument to those soldiers.

"Exonerating those Estonians who fought on the Nazi side during World War II while ignoring the heroism of those who sacrificed their lives in order to defeat Hitler and his local allies is a part of present-day state politics. Unfortunately, a similar policy is being applied in my country, Latvia.

"I'm protesting against such dangerous politics, not only personally but also on behalf of a group of 37 representatives of Russian-speakers NGO's and Russian media from 15 EU Member States - including Estonia - which is visiting Parliament."

The MEP - a member of the Parliament's Human Rights Sub Committee - added:

"I unreservedly condemn the actions of the Estonian police. It is horrifying to think that this can be allowed to happen in Europe and the EU should hold Estonia to account. People are understandably very angry about what's going on and many - both Russian speakers and non-Russian speakers - see this as a dishonourable and unnecessary provocation. Has the Estonian government got nothing better to do than dig up war graves?"

 Sent by e-mail from Israel

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