TALLINN, May 22 (RIA Novosti) - The Estonian prime minister said Monday a Soviet-era monument commemorating the Red Army's role in removing the Nazis from the country should be removed from downtown Tallinn.
Andrus Ansip told Estonian radio that the "Soldier-Liberator" monument "was a symbol of occupation and should be moved elsewhere" as other Soviet monuments had been following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Relations between the two countries have been poor in the last few years, as Estonia seeks official recognition of what it calls Soviet occupation from Russia - the Soviet Union's successor state under international law - while Russia accuses the Baltic state of discriminating against ethnic Russians living there.
Ansip said the monument could be taken to a local cemetery and also proposed reburying soldiers' remains if there were any under the monument.
Saturday, a rally by the Estonian National Movement demanded that the monument be taken out of the city center, before painting it in white and blue, two of the colors of the Estonian flag.
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Military exercises are held in order to prevent a war rather than prepare for one. If a potential enemy knows and sees that the Russian Army is constantly improving its skills and adopting state-of-the-art combat equipment and combat support systems he will hardly risk aggression against these Armed Forces and the country they defend.