Country Takes Down Soviet Monuments

Estonia says Russia was using them to stir up tensions
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2022 5:10 PM CDT
Country Takes Down Soviet Monuments
Stock photo of the Estonian War Museum.   (Getty Images / Aimur Kytt)

Soviet-era war monuments will be pulled from public places in Estonia, the country recently decided, accusing Russia of using the memorials to stir up tensions. Estonia's government explained the move by saying it wanted to prevent Russia "from mobilizing more hostility in society and tearing open old wounds." The country regained its independence in 1991 after the Soviet Union collapsed, the BBC reports. One such World War II memorial has already been removed from Narva, which sits on the Russian border and where all but 3% of residents speak Russian, Al Jazeera reports. The replica tank was removed from its position on Tuesday and is being moved 125 miles to the Estonian War Museum.

"Considering the speed of the increasing tensions and confusion around memorials in Narva, we must act quickly to ensure public order and internal security," said Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. A rep for Vladimir Putin made clear Russia is not pleased. "The war against history, moreover with a common history and the disposal of monuments for those who saved Europe from fascism, is of course outrageous."

Estonia on Thursday said that on Wednesday it had been "subject to the most extensive cyber attacks it has faced since 2007," with a Russian hacker group taking responsibility. But Estonia said the attack was largely toothless, reports Reuters. "With some brief and minor exceptions, websites remained fully available throughout the day." The Guardian reports Estonia has said between 200 and 400 Soviet-era war monuments will come down by year's end. (More Estonia stories.)

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