Alyosha by Muhu, Meelis
For Estonians Alyosha, the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn, is more than just a statue. Some people admire the statue as a monument for great patriotic war soldiers, whilst others see the statue as evil propaganda for the USSR. As a symbol of either the liberation or occupation of Estonia, the Soldier exhibits the dichotomy in the country. As this film shows, he is the center of attention during the political demonstrations, memorials, and riots in the center of EstoniaÃ¢Â€Â™s capital.
After World War 2, the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn was erected by on Liberation Square by Soviet officials as a memorial for the Russian liberators of the capital Tallinn. The re-occupation of Estonia by the Red Army after World War 2 led to deportation of thousands of Estonians to Siberian gulags, and workers migrated to Estonia from other parts of the Soviet Union. After 40 years of Soviet reign, the Estonian Sovereignty Declaration was issued in 1988, and the formal independence was declared in 1991. Estonia entered the European Union in 2004. In 2007, tensions rose in Tallinn and pro-Russian and nationalist groups demonstrated. The Bronze Soldier was relocated and placed on the Cemetery of Estonian Defense Forces.