Streams of people, among them diplomats from several countries, have been heading to Tallinn's military cemetery since Thursday morning to lay flowers at the monument to Soviet soldiers, popularly known as the Bronze Soldier, to mark the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
Flowers laid at Bronze Soldier monument in Tallinn to mark Soviet victory in WWII
Among the wreaths is one with a ribbon bearing the message "From the Estonian people."
At 9 a.m. Russian charge d'affaires Alexander Yashkin, Azerbaijan's Ambassador Tofig Zulfugarov, Belarusian charge d'affaires Vadim Lazarenko and Ukrainian consul Artyom Pushkin laid wreaths and flowers.
A spokesperson for the Russian embassy in Tallinn said that during the day members of the diplomatic mission will take flowers and wreaths to Soviet soldier graves in Tartu, Maardu and Haapsalu, and Russian organizations will lay flowers at monuments in Parnu, Paldiski, Kuressaare, Viljandi, Valga, sites by Lake Peipsi, and other Estonian towns.
A concert dedicated to May 9 is scheduled to begin at the Russian Cultural Center in Tallinn at 1 p.m.
In November 2004 the UN General Assembly passed a resolution marking the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII, declaring May 8 and 9 as a time of remembrance and reconciliation and calling on all member states to observe annually either one or both of these days in an appropriate manner to pay tribute to all victims of the war.
The Soviet tradition of celebrating the end of fighting in Europe on May 9 survives among Estonia's Russian-speaking population.