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State Duma delegation to visit Estonia April 30

MOSCOW, April 28 (RIA Novosti) -- A State Duma delegation will visit Estonia April 30 to appraise the situation surrounding the Estonian government's decision to remove the Bronze Soldier statue, the State Duma speaker said Saturday.

There were violent clashes between protesters and police as crowds gathered in Tallinn after Estonian police cordoned off the area around the Soviet World War II memorial, which was dismantled and removed early Friday. As a result of the clashes in the central streets of Tallinn, a Russian man aged 19-20 died, 60 were injured, and over 500 arrested.

Boris Gryzlov said: "We are particularly concerned about the fate of Russian nationals, who have been detained."

Earlier Saturday, Franek Persidski, press attache at the Estonian embassy to Moscow, said the Estonian consulate in Moscow would be closed citing security reasons. A consulate spokesman also said that the walls around the Consulate had been daubed in graffiti "insulting the Estonian state."

The Moscow police brought in reinforcements to beef up security at the Estonian embassy Friday as rallies were being staged nearby, a spokesman said Friday.

Estonia has said the Bronze Statue and other Soviet monuments - rallying points for ethnic Russians and places of their clashes with Estonian nationalists - "divide society," and the central square is not a proper burial place. European institutions have so far made no comment on the dismantling of the monument in Estonia.

Estonian ETV channel reported Saturday that the exhumation of the 13 soldiers buried in 1947 under the Bronze Soldier had started, referring to the Estonian Defense Ministry.

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