The trouble with this memorial is that it commemorates something that did not occur. In the summer of 1944 the tide of the war was turning and it became quite clear that
But all this was not understood by the Russians who occupied
The bronze Russian soldier did not share the fate of the statues of Lenin and Stalin right after Estonian re-independence because the Estonians knew what it meant to the Russians. It was their memorial to loved ones lost in war, and in the early days of independence it was not worth the dissention that its relocation would have caused. And so it stood, right next to Karli Kirik, and, ironically enough, right across the square from the newly construction “Museum of the Occupation.”
Finally last spring the major of
Now a year has passed and the bronze soldier is safely in a military cemetery where almost all of the graves are those of Russian soldiers who died during and after the war.
The new location of the bronze soldier is not easy to find (although the tour buses seem to find it quite easily.) We had to drive through some seedy neighborhoods to get there, but found that the statue itself had been beautifully set into its new stone foundation. The marker says simply “In honor of those who fell during the Second World War.” It is an appropriate place for the statue, honoring the dead who died in a fight the purpose of which they could not have understood.
Incidentally, I enquired about an Estonian military cemetery and was told that there is no such thing, and in retrospect, this makes sense. The Russians had no time to honor the dead “fascists” they had defeated, and thus there are no cemeteries for those men who took arms against the Red Army. The Russians were the winners and they honored their own dead.