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The State Duma strongly protested against adopting a law by Estonia that bans the removal of monuments to Soviet soldiers
The State Duma strongly protested against adopting a law by Estonia that bans the removal of monuments to Soviet soldiers. A statement to this effect was adopted by Duma lawmakers at their session on Wednesday. In their view, the approval of such law by Estonia’s parliament is aimed at “abolishing the memory of those who fight against fascism and proving of Estonian authorities’ intention to pursue the policy towards the heroisation of fascism”. To this end, the State Duma urged the president and the government to focus on further development of trade and economic relations between Russia and Estonia “regarding how Estonian authorities will carry out the provisions of the law due to the law ‘On Special Economic Measures’”. This law allows the president to impose economic sanctions against any states. Among such measures are to suspend programmes of economic, technical and military assistance; to ban financial and foreign economic operations; as well as to bar Estonian ships to Russian ports; and use Russia’s airspace. Russian lawmakers believe it necessary “to state of the need to continue contacts with representatives of Estonian political forces that have initiated the debates and the adoption of such law”. The lawmakers also called on European parliaments to condemn Estonia’s actions. At the same time, deputy head of the Russian delegation to the PACE Leonid Slutsky told journalists that Estonia’s problem might be raised at the Assembly’s January session. “We are convinced that the European community should give an assessment to the events in Estonia and condemn the actions taken by Estonia’s parliament,” he said. The lawmaker said any attempts to revise the results of World War II and any efforts towards the heroisation of fascism are inadmissible. “If anything terrible happens and the monuments are demolished, we’ll enable the Russian government to take the most decisive measures in this aspect,” State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Konstantin Kosachev said. Kosachev reminded that late last year, a law was adopted in Russia allowing the Russian president to slap economic sanction against other states in the condition of international emergency situations. “I don't rule out that we may take specific economic measures against Estonia within the framework of the effective law,” he said. The law, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 31, gives the head of state the right to impose economic sanctions in the conditions of international emergency. Special economic sanctions can be imposed against any persons or states upon the proposal by the Federation Council upper house of parliament or the State Duma, as well as by the Russian government. Economic sanctions cannot last for more than four years, but can be extended by another two years. The list of sanctions and their duration is determined by the Russian government on the strength of the president's decision. The sanctions are viewed as interim economic measures, applied with the purpose of eliminating or minimising the threat to human health, rights and freedoms and national security. Estonian politicians' bid to review the results of the World War II for the sake of political situation should meet with an adequate response, members of the Federation Council upper house of the Russian parliament told Itar-Tass. The senators were commenting on the law, passed by that Baltic republic, which allows the removal of monuments to Soviet soldiers. This issue may be raised on January 24, when the FC will meet for its first session this year, Federation Council speaker Sergei Mironov said. He denounced the war against monuments and considered it “immoral and unpromising”. “We cannot keep silent and pretend that nothing is happening.” Senators believe that this theme should be raised internationally. Chairman of the house committee on international affairs Mikhail Margelov, who heads a group of European democrats at PACE, said the issue will be certainly raised at the January session of the Assembly. “What Estonian parliamentarians are doing now cannot be called other than PR campaign on bones of the dead,” he said. The intention to open graves of Soviet soldiers in Tallinn means “the glorification of fascism.” On January 10, the Estonian parliament approved the so-called law on the protection of wartime burial places, which sets groundwork for the removal of monuments to Soviet soldiers and relocation of their graves. It provides for reburial of soldiers' remains in case of the construction of public facilities near mass graves for simply for “security considerations”. The lawl, sought by the nationalist circles of the Baltic state, was initiated by the opposition parties Isamaaliit, Res Publica, Social Democrats and the pro-premier Reform Party.
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