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Tula offers to receive Bronze Soldiers' remains

Apr 09, 2007
By TBT staff

In the latest twist in the ongoing controversy over the Bronze Soldier monument in central Tallinn, the governor of Russia's Tula region has suggested that the remains of Soviet soldiers believed to have been interred on the site be reburied in the city of Tula, BNS reported on April 7.

The Estonian government plans to move the monument and any bodies on the site to the more suitable location of a war cemetery. The move has been strongly opposed by local veterans' groups and by Russia, but welcomed by many Estonians who see the monument as glorifying the postwar occupation of their country by the Soviet Union.

"We are ready to accommodate the war graves from Tallinn in our territory," governor Vyacheslav Dudka told Russian news agency Interfax.

It would be a great honor for Tula, the governor said.

"There are around 120 war graves in our region and we're doing everything necessary to keep them in good order," Dudka said.

Last week the Russian embassy in Tallinn said that relatives of the dead buried at the monument had filed a complaint to the Tallinn Administrative Court against the Estonian Defense Ministry.

The relatives claimed that the Defense Ministry has not done its duty as provided by the War Graves Act passed in January, according to which graves must be marked in a way ensuring due respect of the war victims' remains.

"Representation of the relatives' rights in court was trusted to the Russian embassy in Tallinn," the press service of the embassy said.

Earlier in the week Sergei Ivanov, first deputy premier of Russia called on Russians to boycott Estonian goods and to stop coming to Estonia for their holidays. He proposed that they instead head to the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
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