TALLINN - Estonian Education Minister Jaak Aaviksoo, who five years ago was the Defense Minister, said on April 26, the fifth anniversary of the April riots, or Bronze Night riots, that there is no ground for large scale provocations in the state today, reports Public Broadcasting.
“Retroactively, the most important thing is that we saw that the Estonian state worked and was capable of solving the problems that emerged. Today the state most definitely works better. The grounds and possibilities for provocations like those that accumulated around the Bronze Soldier monument have disappeared,” Aaviksoo said at the government’s press conference.
“I don’t see a possibility that for any circumstances such a confrontation could emerge again. Not because of the transition of Russian schools partially to Estonian language teaching, nor any other nationality grounds. The situation is considerably better. Not that we have solved all the problems, but the basis and possibilities are much better today,” he said.
The Estonian Trade Unions Confederation (ETUC), however, did not plan any events for May 1 this year, partly because of the fifth anniversary of the Bronze Night riots. ETUC chairman Harri Taliga said that “There are a number of reasons for this. One issue is, naturally, that in recent months we have organized all kinds of events and it seems sometimes that the society is feeling it has had enough of that. On the other hand, there is our wish and interest to hold content talks with the government and the employers in the near future,” Taliga explained.
Taliga noted that the 5th anniversary of the Bronze Night riots had increased tensions in the society and the trade unions did not want to amplify those, and to avoid persons who wanted to use events not connected to the Bronze Nights from using them for their own aims. “The gap that was created in the society five years ago has not disappeared yet,” he said.
Mass riots started on April 26, 2007 in Tallinn and several towns in Ida-Virumaa and lasted for several days after the removal of the Bronze Soldier monument in central Tallinn by the government.