Russian Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko promised Nov. 5 that Russia will return to Estonia its president's badge of office, taken to Moscow during the Soviet occupation of the country.
"It has been decided in principle that we will return it," Matviyenko said at a press conference, adding that Estonia and Russia would only have to agree via diplomatic channels when and where the regalia, kept at Moscow's Oruzheinaya Palata (Armory), would be returned.
The Estonia Frontline Soldiers Association has been fighting for the return of the badge of office, and last year sent a letter to President Vladimir Putin. An association official said earlier this year that the Kremlin had promised that the badge would soon be returned.
Estonia's Culture Minister Signe Kivi, who has since resigned, raised the issue of the badge's return when she met with Matviyenko in St. Petersburg in July 2000.