Russian banker, MP propose to buy land under Soviet monument

  • 2007-01-15
  • By TBT staff

GREETINGS FROM MOSCOW: The Kremlin is setto ensure that the Bronze Soldier remains standing.

Alexander Lebedev, member of the Duma (lower house of Russian parliament) and co-owner of Russia's National Reserve Bank, has sent a letter to the Estonian president offering to buy the piece of land in Tonismagi Park, Tallinn, where a monument to Soviet soldiers stands.

"I sent an official proposal to the Estonian president today in which I underlined that I am ready not only to buy the land plots, but also to maintain them, along with renovating and protecting the monument," the Russian MP said.

The deputy from the pro-Kremlin United Russia party said that he views his proposal as "a decent and civilized way to avoid vandalism by the state towards the monument."

In his words, the bill protecting military graves, which was passed by Estonia's parliament and signed into law by President Toomas Hendrik Ilves last week, marks "the climax of the campaign unfolded in Estonia to revise the results of World War II and rehabilitate Nazism."

"If the authorities of Estonia, just like their counterparts in other EU member states, share the values of free market and private property, they should not reject my proposal," Lebedev said.

The Estonian president on Jan. 11 signed into law the War Graves Protection Act, which the 101-seat parliament had passed with 66 votes on the day before.

The act, initiated by four factions of the Estonian parliament, should establish the legal basis for the removal of the Red Army monument, the so-called Bronze Soldier, from Tonismagi in central Tallinn.