One of the main characters of the Bronze Night ten years ago Maksim Reva (42) lives and does business in Russia today. He believes the Estonian society lost the most from the events back then.
The prosecution charged Reva with organizing mass unrest, and he was arrested for a period of six months in 2007. The court found him not guilty due to lack of evidence in 2009.
Who benefited, and who lost as a result of the Bronze Night events?
They certainly benefited [PM at the time[ Andrus Ansip. He made brilliant use of the situation and became the longest sitting prime minister in near history. The Russian community also benefited as it kept its pride and honor by saying „no“. The decision to move the monument united the Russian population.
The greatest damage was done to Estonian society as these events led to the split between Estonians and Russians that is holding Estonia back to this day.
What do you do these days?
My family fell apart when I was released. While I will not say I regret it, I was forced to leave for Russia. It was difficult at first. Life in Russia is very different from life in Estonia. Today I think of myself as Russian. I made the decision to take Russian citizenship and tie my life to Russia in prison.
I'm an entrepreneur dealing in political technologies and financial consultation. I remain socially active, and I help my fellow countrymen move to Russia from the Baltics. I often visit Estonia; I'm the head of the bronze soldier watch.
Did you feel strong pressure from the authorities after you were acquitted?
The internal security service knows how to ruin a person's life. The most effective tool is a call placed to one's employer or business partner. After that you understand you have no work and no business. So the only thing left to do was leave.
Do you stay in touch with other participants of the Bronze Night events?
I meet with Dmitri Linter whenever I'm in Moscow. I see Dimitri Klenski perhaps once a year, while I very rarely see Mark Sirõk.
Do you believe you did everything right ten years ago? What would you do differently today?
We did what we could at the time. Considering experience and the current situation, I would not like to say we could have done something differently. I wish Estonia peace, and I hope the authorities have learned something from those events ten years ago. Looking at Tõnismägi today, rulers are still afraid of that place and what happened there.