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  Friday, November 22, 2019
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Officer killed during WWII and buried by a Soviet-era memorial in Tallinn returned to Russia Friday for reburial
An officer killed during WWII and buried by a Soviet-era memorial in Tallinn returned to Russia Friday for reburial, following an exhumation of buried Soviet soldiers in early May, a Russian embassy spokesman said. The remains of Captain Alexei Bryantsev, killed in action in September 1944, were passed to his son, Viktor, after DNA tests confirmed his identity, the embassy's press attache, Maxim Kozlov, said. Kozlov said the Russian side had covered all Bryantsev's expenses, including travel costs and those related to the repatriation of his father to the southern city of Rostov-on-Don. Bryantsev and twelve other Red Army personnel were laid to rest in the grave in central Tallinn towards the end of WWII. A Bronze Soldier monument was erected by it to commemorate their sacrifice in liberating Estonia from Nazi Germany. The dismantling of the monument and its relocation to a cemetery on the outskirts of the city on April 27 triggered protests in Estonia and across Russia. In Moscow, Russian officials called the move an "act of blasphemy," and street protests left one person was killed and tens injured. Estonia was annexed to the USSR after WWII and did not regain its independence until the early 1990s, so for many in the Baltic country, the Bronze Soldier memorial was a painful reminder of the Soviet "occupation."
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