Estonians walk out of forum in protest

June 29, 2008, 19:07

The Estonian delegation headed by the country’s president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, has left a forum for Finno-Ugric nations in protest at comments made by the Chairman of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev.
Kosachev referred to violence in Tallinn last year after Estonian authorities moved a monument to Soviet Soldiers from the centre of the Estonian capital.

“In Estonia when the defenders of the monument celebrating the conquerors of fascism were beaten by police, there were no open letters, or resolutions to the European Parliament, no condolences sent – only complaints that youths outraged by murder had interrupted the Estonian ambassador’s transportation,” he said.

The Estonian delegation then left the conference room in protest.

In 2007 thousands of people rallied in Tallinn in protest at Estonia ‘s decision to remove the “Bronze Soldier” – a monument to Soviet soldiers of World War II.

Tear gas and rubber truncheons were used in the police crackdown which left dozens injured and one Russian dead.

The Fifth World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples opened in Russia ’s city of Khanty-Mansiysk on Saturday. It goes under the motto “Identity and Changing World”. The event was attended by representatives of all Finno-Ugric peoples in Russia , as well as delegations from Finland , Hungary and Estonia .