"The Estonian Republic did not participate in World War II and suffered both from the Nazi German and Soviet occupation. The Soviet Union did not liberate Estonia but occupied us for almost 50 years. We are deeply outraged by the fact that Russia continues to disseminate historically unfair information and downgrade the crimes of the Soviet regime," the Estonian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
On Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry issued a batch of documents related to the 1944 Soviet operation against Nazi troops in Estonia. The release of the material coincided with the 75th anniversary of the operation. The Russian ministry, in line with the country's official position, describes the events as the liberation of Estonia, a historical assessment that runs contrary to that of Tallinn, which calls the Soviet period in the country’s history an "occupation."
Estonia along with its two Baltic neighbours, Latvia and Lithuania, were made part of the Soviet Union in 1940 following what Russia regarded as voluntary unification and what the Baltic nations labelled as illegal annexation. Nazi troops occupied the Baltic region in summer 1941 but were expelled three years later when the Soviet army regained control over the area. The three nations regained independence in 1991 as a result of the USSR’s dissolution.
The Baltic states are not the only ones to have questioned the Soviet Union's role in World War II. The eastern European nations that were part of the Warsaw Pact have also accused the Soviet Union of occupying them by imposing communist governments after expelling Nazis. Russia disagrees with such interpretations of events, stressing that it was the Red Army that managed to put an end to mass human rights violations being committed by the Nazis.