Soldiers' remains finally laid to rest

  • 2007-06-27
  • By Mike Collier

BURIED WITH DIGNITY: The storm of protest of a few weeks ago seemed a long time ago at the somber ceremony

TALLINN - Eight coffins containing theremains of Soviet soldiers exhumed at Tonismagi have been reburied inthe Estonian capital.

Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo,Population Minister Urve Palo and chairman of the National DefenseCommittee Mati Raidma all took part in the ceremony.

The diplomatic corps, various defense attaches, representatives of veterans' organizations, thewar graves maintenance association, the War Graves Committee and theEstonian Red Cross were also among onlookers.

The memorial service was conducted bythe same clergy who conducted an ecumenical service before theexhumation at Tonismagi.

Both the remains and the coffins aremarked with identification codes that are linked with archived DNAprofiles of the remains. The codes are marked on stainless steelidentification tokens used in theEstonian defense forces.

A temporary memorial plaque with thenames of the eight soldiers whose relatives have not yet been tracedwas installed at the graveside.

The plaque is inscribed in the Cyrillic alphabetwith the names of the deceased. The exact location of each grave isindicated on a map. The remains of twelve people, including those ofa woman, were found in the excavations, and some have already beenreturned to relatives.