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    Russia's reaction to Estonia war memorial law should be tough - FM

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    Moscow's reaction to the Estonian law on war memorials should be tough but rule out sanctions against the Baltic state, Russia's foreign minister said Saturday.

    MOSCOW, January 27 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow's reaction to the Estonian law on war memorials should be tough but rule out sanctions against the Baltic state, Russia's foreign minister said Saturday.

    Estonia's parliament approved January 10 a law allowing the reburial of the remains of Soviet soldiers who died fighting German invaders during the Second World War, but who are seen by many Estonians as former occupiers.

    "Our reaction should be strong and tough, aiming to mobilize public opinion, above all in the European countries, to prevent the desecration of the memory of those who fought against Nazism. But I would not go for sanctions," Sergei Lavrov said.

    Russia's upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, earlier this week called on international parliamentary organizations to prevent Estonia from demolishing Soviet war memorials in the ex-Soviet Baltic state.

    Estonian authorities claimed that monuments dividing society must be removed, and the sentiment gained new momentum following clashes in front of the "Bronze Soldier" monument last year between Estonian nationalists and Russians living in the country.

    Russia has repeatedly drawn the European Union's attention to attempts by Estonia, which declared its independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and joined NATO and the EU in 2004, to glorify Nazi Germany, including with parades by former Nazi SS fighters.

    Moscow has also harshly criticized Estonia's discriminatory policies with respect to ethnic Russians who moved to the republic following its annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940, and their descendents.

    Many members of Estonia's Russian community are denied citizenship and employment rights, and cannot receive an education in their native language.

    The human rights group Amnesty International has condemned the situation in the Baltic country, and called on its leadership to respect the rights of ethnic Russians.

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