The Estonian government is determined to keep a lid on the statue crisis, and has deplored the events of last night. The prime minister has called for calm, but Tallin is buzzing with rumour and outrage, and there are fears that there could be violent confrontation tonight. Prime minister Andrus Ansip said:
“It is reasonable to stay at home and not succumb to the provocations. It is not reasonable to begin your young lives with five years imprisonment”
Ansip was warning students, who have reportedly been arming themsleves for a showdown with the Russian community in the city.
The monument has gone, and the ground remains untouched, protected by a tent, awaiting examination of any human remains that may lie there.
President Toomas Henrik-Ilves also deplored the violence said:
“What we saw last night were crimes; criminal brawling, looting, and robbing. This has nothing to do with the keeping of graves, or the memories of those who fell in the war, and nothing to do with nationality”.
However for Russian senate president Sergei Mironov, the affair is the last straw;
“I want President Putin to break off diplomatic relations. We’ve seen enough of this mocking the dead and scoffing at the victory in world war two. It’s all gone too far”.
Severing diplomatic ties is a big step, one President Putin may be unwilling to take, but in Moscow his youth party workers were demonstating outside the Estonian embassy today, and it is an election year, so there may be political capital to be gained from the situation.