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Russian rabbi: Don’t excavate Soviet grave

A Russian chief rabbi warned Estonian authorities that the planned
excavation of a common grave of Soviet soldiers in Tallinn could embolden global
extremism. “We know that extremist forces are raising their heads in some European
countries, nursing plans to rehabilitate the Nazi ideology,” Berel Lazar, one of Russia’s two chief rabbis, told
Interfax on Thursday.
Estonian authorities decided to
move the grave and an adjacent bronze statue because they symbolize the country’s postwar
occupation by the Soviets. Work on the project was scheduled to begin this week, but it has sparked a
major diplomatic row between Estonia and Russia.
In linking the excavation to the fight against global extremism,
Lazar, known for his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, urged Estonian authorities to consider the possibility that the move might embolden fanatics. “The dismantling of monuments to soldiers who defeated
Nazism will definitely encourage these destructive forces,” he said.

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