27 April 2007

Rioting In Estonia

MOSCOW, April 27 — Estonian government workers removed a Soviet-era war memorial from the center of the Estonian capital, Talinn, early this morning, after a night of protest and violence that killed one, injured dozens and left a swath of
shattered windows and overturned cars in the city center, Estonian officials said.

Basically - from the Russian POV - the statue symbolizes the defeat of the Nazis; from the Estonian POV it symbolizes the Soviet Union's brutal occupation, etc. of Estonia. If I recall correctly many Estonians (and perhaps the Estonian government?) weren't exactly hostile to the Nazis and may have aided them in exterminating Estonia's Jewish population. All of this makes for a fairly complicated and contested historical narrative.

Whoever is "right," let's hope events there don't become too volatile; after all, as the 20th century demonstrated, people are more than willing to kill each other over their preferrred, idealized, emotionally laden historical perspectives.

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