Estonia has made world news lately as the relocation of a soviet-era bronze war memorial prompted riots by Russians in the capital city of Tallinn. I’ve culled some good articles from the internet to shed some light on the meaning behind these disturbing events.
Here is some brief background. The war memorial is a bronze statue of a soldier which stands on the site of a grave for the unidentified fallen of the Red Army. To Estonians, it is a lasting symbol of 50 years of illegal Soviet occupation and oppression of the Estonian way of life. For ethnically Russian Estonians, it stands for a sense of nationhood and global respect which has been lacking ever since the fall of the USSR. It seems to me that the current hoopla on the ground in Estonia has much less to do with the difference between these interpretations of the statue and more to do with hoodlums who are capitalizing on a tense situation in order to rabble rouse.
- Wikipedia Article
- Wall Street Journal Article: Estonia and the Bear
- The Economist Article: Moscow’s reaction clumsy
- Delfi Article: Russian Elephant and Estonian Mouse