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Learning English - Words in the News
09 May, 2007 - Published 14:55 GMT
Putin criticises Estonia over war memorial
President Putin

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has criticised Estonia's decision to relocate a Soviet era war memorial. The move led to a bitter diplomatic row between the two countries. This report from James Rodgers:

Listen to the story

Thousands of troops had assembled on Red Square to mark what many in Russia consider the Soviet Union's greatest achievement - the defeat of Nazi Germany. Mr Putin used his speech to condemn those whom Russia accuses of insulting that memory.

He said there were those today who were trying to diminish what he called 'this invaluable experience.' He said they were desecrating monuments to war heroes. It was a clear reference to Estonia. Russia has reacted furiously to the recent relocation of a Soviet era war memorial in Tallinn.

Russia sees the Red Army as liberators from fascism. Many in Estonia see them as Soviet occupiers. A bitter diplomatic row continues. Mr Putin referred to this too, saying that those who he charged with belittling the Red Army's achievements were sowing discord and distrust between states and people.

James Rodgers, BBC News, Moscow

Listen to the words

to condemn
to say very strongly that someone's behaviour is wrong or bad

says that Estonia has done something wrong or illegal

insulting that memory
being rude or offensive about people who died (here, during the Second World War)

desecrating monuments to war heroes
damaging statues or monuments that have been built to remember soldiers who died in war

reacted furiously
behaved in an angry way

moving something (usually buildings or people) from one place to another

liberators from fascism
soldiers who freed people who were living under Hitler's and Mussolini's rule during the Second World War

forces or armies from one country which invade another county and start ruling it

insulting or being rude to something or someone by making them seem unimportant

sowing discord
making or spreading bad feelings

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