Russia blasts Estonia for plans to restore SS soldier monument

Estonia’s plans to bring back a monument to a soldier dressed in Waffen SS uniform is a provocation and affront to the memory of those who died fighting the Nazis, the Russian Embassy has said.

The stela with a bronze bas-relief depicts an armed trooper in Nazi gear, and a tablet reading: “To Estonian men who fought in 1940-1945 against Bolshevism and for the restoration of Estonian independence.” It caused a lot of controversy after being erected at the cemetery in the town of Lihula in August 2004.

The government ordered its removal less than two weeks later, saying that the memorial created unnecessary links between Estonian independence fighters and the German invaders. Nazi sympathizers staged rallies on the spot where the stela once stood. Last year, one such demonstration attracted around 200 people.