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Russia blasts Estonia defense minister over Nazi sympathies

Published time: July 09, 2013 12:40
RIA Novosti / Alexei Olis'ko

RIA Novosti / Alexei Olis'ko

Russian Foreign Ministry has sharply criticized the Estonian Defense Minister’s address to the country’s veterans of the Waffen SS, in which the official suggested that the Soviet and Nazi troops were equal during WWII.

Minister Urmas Reinsalu addressed the weekend meeting of the Estonian Freedom Fighters Union – the organization that unites the veterans of the 20th Waffen Grenadier Division, also known as the First Estonian.

In his speech the official stated that Estonia “had repeatedly condemned the repressive policies of the Soviet Union and National Socialist Germany, as well as the actions of people who committed crimes against humanity.”

Russia called the statement “another attempt to put on one scale the Soviet Union that has made a decisive contribution into ridding Europe of the ‘brown plague’, and Nazi Germany.” Russian diplomats also noted that the Estonian minister chose not to remind the public about such outrageous crimes as the total destruction by the Nazis of the two ethnic groups that resided in Estonia before the war – the Jews and the Roma (Gypsies) – as well as the fact that the genocide was committed largely by Estonian collaborators.

In addition, the Russian side pointed out that over the past 20 years the Estonian authorities have not even once shown due respect to the veterans of the Estonian Rifle Corps of the Red Army. At the same time, the veterans who once donned the uniforms of the Waffen SS and other of Hitler’s formations are greeted by Estonia’s state officials and receive decorations and awards.

Therefore, such activities cannot be appraised in any other way but as a premeditated planting of pro-Nazi sentiments in the society,” the Russian note reads.

Estonia’s Freedom Fighters Union is a public organization with about 2,000 members who fought on the side of Nazi Germany in WWII. In total, about 80,000 Estonians joined Nazi troops during the war and 3,000 more fought as volunteers in the Finnish Army, which was also an ally of Nazi Germany. At the same time, about 30,000 Estonians joined the Red Army ranks forming the Estonian Rifle Corps.

Russia has repeatedly voiced protests over glorification of Nazism in Estonia as re-unions of veterans happen in this country almost annually and each time the authorities send official greetings to former Waffen SS soldiers.

Comments (122)

 

Re Ku 22.05.2014 21:48

Once should be CLEAR: Communist Russia invaded and occupied Estonia, and the other Baltic States! And killed also 25.000 Polish Officers! Yes, Russia suffered heavy casualties in the War! But... Germany has had similar losses, beside the difference, that East Prussia is still occupied by Russia and partly by Poland. Pomerania and Silesia still occupied by Poland. 18 Million people where expelled of their homes in this areas and Sudeten (now Czech). 3 - 4 million of them where killed. So much I support Mr Putin and the Russian people, the now Ukrainian problem is partly HOME MADE! You may read more at algaddafi.or g

 

Joseph Swanson 11.05.2014 13:18

Great to see the veterans of 20th Waffen Grenadier Division. Keep fighting on guys.

 

virgis 23.11.2013 21:40

well,theres no swastika on theirs flag..just 2 old men and russia is scared of them....

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