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9 May, 2009 17:33

Tallinn police remove replicas of Soviet memorials

Estonian police have removed a memorial plaque from the centre of the capital, Tallinn. It bore the name of Capt. Ivan Sysoyev, a Soviet officer killed in the battles for Tallinn in September 1944.

On Saturday morning, the plaque appeared on Tonismagi Hill, a site previously occupied by a Soviet war memorial that was removed two years ago.

Authorities say it was put there without permission.

Police registered the plaque as a “find”. Also, they promise not to begin a criminal investigation and give the slab back to its owner.

In another development, police seized a plastic replica of the Bronze Soldier that previously stood in central Tallinn but was removed from the military cemetery outside Estonia's capital in 2007.

The relocation back then sparked mass riots that were violently suppressed by authorities. One person died in the unrest.

Those defending the Bronze Soldier saw it as a tribute to soldiers who liberated Estonia from the Nazis during World War Two.

However, many Estonians saw it as a symbol of Soviet occupation.