We, 31.05.2023
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People at Bronze Soldier: only here, Russians feel united

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Yesterday, thousands of Russian speaking Estonian nationals headed to Tallinn Defence Forces cemetery, to celebrate May 9th, the Victory Day, as the Russian customs go.

Many of them, heeding the Tallinn City Government call, came on foot, or by public transport. According to Postimees in Russian, the unbroken throng of people went all the way from the Filtri Road/ Juhkentali Street bus stop to the cemetery.

At the cemetery gates, a car is waiting – trunk loaded with carnations. Whoever has not gotten these before, may purchase the flowers, a euro apiece. On the spot, flyers for tomorrow’s concert at the Russian Culture Centre, called Songs of Victory, are distributed. According to the activists, the proceeds of the concert go to support veterans.

«To me, May 9th is a recollection of the liberty granted to us at the end of the Great Patriotic War. This, probably, is most important, and therefore I try to come every year,» said a young man called Andrei, at the bronze Soldier with his friend.

He said he also participated in the 2007 Bronze Night rioting. The events back then, he considers a political game. «I feel it is all strongly politicised; however, all the people need is a holiday. No need to play Potyomkin, but it could be one bright holiday for all,» thinks Andrei.

At the cemetery, the mood is festive. Nearly all are wearing the St George’s Ribbon, and another in Russian flag colours. Both are distributed by youths, at the gates. At the Tehnika Street gates, there stands a tent, blasting military music and holding a kids’ drawing contest called I Remember, I Feel Proud.

Aleksandr and Darja have come with their 1 year old son Adrian. In their own words, they have come to «teach the younger generation to honour this holiday».

«This is a day of a great victory. We celebrate it every year. We remember it, feel proud, and teach it to our children, that the generations to come would honour deeds done by our forefathers,» said Aleksandr.

At the Bronze Soldier, youth from the Molodoje Slovo (Youthful Word) stand in festive guard, dressed in Soviet Army uniforms. «I am here to show there still are people thankful to those who gave their lives and their souls to protect those born today,» said 12-grader Anna, adding that the action has taken place for a number of years now.

According to sisters Zoja and Valentina Nikolajevna, May 9th is not only a day to remember the fallen – it is also a day of unity for all Russian speaking people living in Estonia.

«Because this is the only place where we can go and together express some feelings and have solidarity. We try to come here every year. Our father is buried here. First we go to his grave, then we come here,» said the sisters.

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