Angry Over Russia’s War, Estonia Set to Destroy Soviet Monuments

(Bloomberg) -- The Estonian government plans to remove and demolish 244 Soviet monuments, which many people find offensive because they represent the Baltic nation’s decades-long occupation.

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A government committee formed in June, reviewed and decided the fate of 322 monuments, the majority of these being World War II memorials that will be destroyed and graves that will be re-interred at cemeteries.

Of the monuments, 74 sites were seen as ideologically neutral or have artistic value and will therefore be preserved, the committee announced Wednesday.

The government launched its campaign to remove Soviet monuments after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. In August, the authorities relocated a Soviet-built tank in Narva to a museum, drawing the ire of Moscow because such memorials represent Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany.

A similar row over the relocation of a Soviet monument in Tallinn in 2007 set off several days of violent protests and a cyber attack on Estonian government websites, with authorities blaming the Kremlin.

Neighboring Latvia and Lithuania have also taken steps to clear the country of Soviet symbols. Vilnius was set to start the removal of a memorial for Soviet soldiers in the Lithuanian capital’s cemetery on Thursday.

--With assistance from Milda Seputyte.

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