Page last updated at 05:38 GMT, Sunday, 10 May 2009 06:38 UK

War 'statue' reappears in Estonia

A stylised image of Tallinn's "Bronze Soldier" on Kristina Norma's website
Estonian artist Kristina Norman is using images of the statue in her work

A dummy of the Soviet "Bronze Soldier" statue at the centre of Estonian unrest two years ago has turned up briefly on the original site in Tallinn.

Painted gold, the replica made of what appeared to be papier-mache stood for about 30 minutes on Tonismagi square before police removed it.

Estonia moved the original statue to a military cemetery in 2007, saying it had become a focus of political unrest.

Ethnic Russians and others saw the move as a blow to their identity.

The dummy statue appeared on the day when much of the ex-USSR celebrates the anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.

In the riots in Tallinn which accompanied the removal of the statue in April 2007, one person was killed and at least 40 were injured.

Art exhibit

Many Estonians view their country's incorporation into the USSR as an occupation, and saw the statue as a reminder of decades of Soviet rule.

Local artist Kristina Norman said the dummy was part of an arts project and not meant to provoke anyone.

"I wasn't breaking any law in force in Estonia and I didn't intend provoking anyone," she told the Estonian news website ERR Uudised.

"If anyone thinks this is a provocation, then the government's behaviour is a bigger provocation."

Norman is due to represent Estonia at the 53rd Venice Biennale this autumn with an exhibit entitled After-War which features an image of the Bronze Soldier.

Estonian police told the Russian news agency Interfax that they did not plan to take any further action over the dummy monument and the "owner could come and collect their property".

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