For the past few days, the BBC has been hosting an open public discussion of the Bronze Soldier issue. It’s heartening to see the support for Estonians, who currently face a threat to their country of a kind that few in the West can even begin to imagine.
Meanwhile, the Estonian government has released the following press statements:
28 April 2007
Groundless accusations by Russian Foreign Ministry are directed at escalating tensions in Estonia
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs decisively refutes the statement made today by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and considers it unfortunate that the groundless accusations are directed at escalating tensions in Estonia.
The Estonian Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that the death of a Russian citizen was in no way related to the actions of the police officers maintaining public order on 27 April in Tallinn.
According to the Estonian Prosecutor’s Office an investigation has been launched to establish Dmitry’s (born 1987) cause of death. The evidence collected so far indicates that the death was a result of injuries obtained from a conflict between two private individuals during the riots. The investigation is progressing in order to establish all circumstances of the incident and to find all offenders.
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has informed the Russian Embassy in Tallinn of the Russian citizen and Estonian resident’s death.
According to the Estonian Health Care Board, the majority of injuries from the riots were head and minor hand injuries, most likely caused by glass shards from broken shop windows.
28 April 2007
Estonian Foreign Minister expressed indignation at the lack of actions by Russian authorities
Foreign Minister Urmas Paet on Saturday voiced indignation at the lack of actions by Russian authorities in ensuring the security of the Estonian Embassy in Moscow.
“During yesterday’s telephone conversation, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov assured me that Russia would fulfil all of its obligations in ensuring the safety of all Estonian representations in Russia,” emphasised Paet. “A day later and the wall of the Estonian Embassy in Moscow has been desecrated,” minister said.
Paet added that Estonia demands explanations with regards to this incident from the Russian Foreign Ministry.
These conditions will not allow the Consular Section of the Embassy in Moscow to operate to its full capacity on Monday 30 April. Irrespective of the situation, Estonia will continue to provide its citizens with consular assistance. The Consulate will return to normal business once the security of the Estonian Embassy in Moscow has been ensured.
Death Prayer Held and Identification Proceedings Started at Tõnismäe War Grave
Today, on April 28 Orthodox priest Aivar Sarapik and Lutheran ministerTaavi Laanepere held a Death Prayer at the Tõnismäe war grave before the surveying works are started. Aivar Sarapik held the Death Prayer according to Orthodox traditions.
Ecumenic Death Prayer was held at the Tõnismäe war grave, containing Death Prayers of both Lutheran and Orthodox churches. The essence of the Death Prayer is to pray for departed souls. To pray for departed souls is a traditional Christian and Orthodox custom. The procedure can be carried out independently from the time and place, especially if it is not known who have been killed and where their graves are located.
Photos of the saying of Death Prayer will be published at www.riik.ee/tuvastus <http://www.riik.ee/tuvastus> and at www.kmin.ee <http://www.kmin.ee> . Upon using the photos please refer to the Ministry of Defence as the author. The Death Prayer service was recorded by Estonian Radio and Estonian Television, the recorded material is available to everyone interested. The contact person is Andres Kuusk, e-Mail address firstname.lastname@example.org <mailto:email@example.com> .
The identification proceedings will be carried out according to international regulations, customs and agreements. These include: Disaster Victims Identification Instructions (DVI), general rules and methods of forensic and anthropological practice and recommendations to archeological and anthropoligical investigation.
The identification of persons buried in the war graves is carried out by state forensic institutions the Estonian Bureau of Forensic Expertise and the Estonian Forensic Centre. A coroner will be present at the excavation works, at whose instruction the discovery, excavation and assembly of the remains will take place. The found remains will be documented and packaged by the forensic experts. The research will be carried out as quickly as possible and the results will be forwarded to the Ministry of Defence.
The conclusion of the results of research will be disclosed by the Ministry of Defence.
Director of Public Relations
MoD of Estonia
+ 372 51 88 281