St. Petersburg Times
Special report
Video report
  • For their own good
    Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
  • More video reports
Multimedia report
Print Email this storyEmail story Comment Email editor
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Your name Your email
Friend's name Friend's email
Your message

Estonia excavates graves despite violent response

Published April 29, 2007


TALLINN, Estonia - Estonian officials exhumed remains believed to be those of Soviet soldiers from a Red Army memorial in the heart of the capital Saturday, pushing ahead with an operation that sparked widespread rioting by infuriated ethnic Russians.

Protesters gathered Saturday night in the largely ethnic Russian towns of Johvi and Narva, leading to dozens of arrests. But there was nothing like the violence that resulted in the death of a Russian citizen, more than 100 injuries and more than 840 arrests over the previous two nights.

The rioting has been the worst seen since the Baltic state won independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

"I'm sure that the hooligans' attacks on everything we hold dear - our children's' safety, our memories, our homeland - will only further unite us, " Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said in a televised address to the nation.

He expressed regret and sympathy for those who suffered as a result of the riots, adding that the government would provide compensation for damages.

Some 50, 000 Soviet soldiers were killed by Nazi troops on Estonian territory. Estonia's Russians - less than one-third of the country's 1.3-million population - regard the Bronze Soldier monument as a shrine to the war effort, but ethnic Estonians consider it a painful reminder of the Soviet rule that followed World War II.

The Estonian Defense Ministry said it would rebury the remains in a military cemetery about 2 miles from the present location. The Bronze Soldier statue will also be moved to the cemetery.

[Last modified April 29, 2007, 01:22:36]

Share your thoughts on this story

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters