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Trouble Over Estonia

  • May 4th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

estonia-reduced.jpgThe European Union and NATO at Brussels have both expressed concern about violent acts around the Estonian Embassy in Moscow.

These inverventions follow protests by the Russian government against the removal of a Soviet-era war memorial from a central square in the Estonian capital, Tallinn.

Estonian authorities say that several Soviet war graves that were located beneath the statue will be moved to a military cemetery, but gangs of youths in Moscow have been protesting outside the embassy and mobbing official cars.

The European Commission and the North Atlantic alliance have both called on the Russian authorities to fulfil their obligations to protect EU embassies and staff, under international conventions on diplomatic relations.

The EC said (2.5.07) it was deeply concerned about increasing levels of violence.

A NATO statement said it was concerned for the security of embassy staff including the Ambassador; violent actions were “unacceptable and must be stopped immediately”.

Within Estonia, street protests have been mounted mostly by members of the country’s large Russian ethnic community, reflecting restless social relations since Estonia left the Soviet Union and then joined the EU and NATO.

The war memorial in a prominent place had been resented by many native Estonians as a mark of subjugation of the country under Soviet occupation.

The picture shows a good representation of Russian newspapers in a Tallinn shop window this week.

Picture: Charlotte Morgenthal

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