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PM Ansip advocates removing Bronze Soldier

And any possible graves beneath it

Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip told parliament on Monday that the Bronze Soldier monument in central Tallinn will have to be removed from its location in Tõnismäe. And if, as legend holds, there are people buried under the monument, the PM noted, they will have to be interred somewhere else.

The Bronze Soldier monument, erected in 1947 to commemorate Soviet soldiers who died in WWII, was initially meant to be a monument of mourning. But since Estonian independence, it has represented more a symbol of Soviet occupation. While Russian-speaking people have been visiting the monument for years, it has only recently become a source of heightened inter-ethnic tension. There are no clear reasons as to why the conflict has occurred now, though there are plenty of speculators.

PM Ansip advocated excavations to determine who, if anyone, is buried underneath the monument. “If someone has been buried, he will have to be re-buried at a cemetery in a dignified way,” Ansip said. The PM set no deadlines for the removal of the monument. “As soon as possible but it would be wrong to set any deadlines now,” he said.