Eesti in brief - 2007-09-26

  • 2007-09-26
Estonia quietly marked the passing of a renamed historical day on Sept. 22 's the date formerly know as the Day the Liberation of Tallinn was officially renamed by the government as the Day of Resistance. Soviet veterans laid flowers at the Tallinn military cemetery to mark the 1944 arrival of Red Army troops to Tallinn. Meanwhile, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves reminded the world that "from the Estonian viewpoint, there is no difference between Nazis and Communists." He spoke at a ceremony honoring the short-lived independent Estonian government, formed as Nazi soldiers evacuated the city and the Red Army marched in. "The truth is that the Red Army and its NKVD security police 'liberated' Estonia as much as the Wehrmacht and Gestapo before them," he said.

The cost of relocating the Bronze Soldier monument has been revealed 's the Estonian government spent 92 million kroons to shift the controversial statue. The excavation and landscaping works were borne by the Ministry of Defense, while other ministries were called upon to fund other elements of the removal. On Sept. 20, the government allocated 32 million kroons to top up the ministries' budgets because of the extraordinary cost. The overall figure, published in the Postimees newspaper, does not take into account the insurance claims by businesses damaged during the ensuing riots. Meanwhile, the Harju County Court has sentenced Andrei Bogdanov, 27, to five months in prison for looting shops on April 28. But Bogdanov's sentence has been backdated to his arrest, meaning he will be released on Sept. 28.

The Foreign Ministry is continuing its embassy expansion plans. It is about to buy three new buildings in Kiev, Madrid and Warsaw to house its embassies, while the construction of a brand new embassy in Beijing is planned for late 2008. The new purchases are in addition to renovation projects underway at embassies in London, Budapest and Tbilisi. Meanwhile, a design competition is underway for a new embassy in Riga. A total of 284 million kroons (18.15 million euros) has been set aside for the projects.