The Most Controversial Statue in Eastern Europe: Estonia's Bronze Soldier

The 7-minute video below is a combination of photos and video of the statue, plus some music and my occasional narration. Although it won't win an Oscar, it's cheaper than a movie ticket.

Estonia's Bronze Soldier: The Most Controversial Statue in Eastern Europe from Francis Tapon on Vimeo.

After World War II, the USSR placed a bronze statue of a common soldier in the center of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, a small country next to Russia. For Russians, the Bronze Soldier represented the triumph over the Nazis. Russians wanted to remind the Estonians that the Soviets had liberated the Estonians from the Nazis.

On the other hand, Estonians felt the Bronze Soldier symbolized the Russian domination and occupation. Every Victory Day (the anniversary of WWII), Russians would wave the Russian (or Soviet) flag around the Bronze Soldier.

By 2006, patriotic Estonians had enough. They wanted the Bronze Soldier removed. Ethnic Russians who live in Estonia disagreed.

In April 2007, protests reached a crescendo when two days of riots erupted in the streets of Tallinn. When the dust settled, one had died, millions of dollars of property damaged had been caused, and the statue was moved to the Military Cemetery in the outskirts of Tallinn.

Officials from the Russian government demanded that the Estonian government resign. Fear of war mounted. Ultimately, it didn't happen. At least, not yet.

Video tour of Tallinn, Estonia

I made this 8-minute video at the end of 2008

Tour of Tallinn's Old Town in Estonia during the snowy winter from Francis Tapon on Vimeo.

Francis Tapon and Benny Hill in costume party in Parnu, Estonia.
In 2009, I went to a costume party for New Year's Eve inĀ Parnu, Estonia. Everyone was supposed to be either a movie star or an animated character. I dressed up as a thru-hiker, using my sexy Jacks 'R Better convertible sleeping bag and its stylish green hood. The sleeping bag does double duty as a serape, but what its designers don't know is that it has a third use: a make-shift costume for a party. When asked what I was, I replied, "A green M&M."

Recommended reading

Read up about Estonia in Wikipedia and the CIA Factbook.

Travel deals to Estonia

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Interactive map of Estonia

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