Do you see the defiant look of the Red Army soldiers that drove Hitler's troops out of Pribaltika? Or do you see the manical laugh of the men who loaded your grandmother into a cattle car bound for Siberia? Or do you just see an ugly, bronze dude in a cape (how many soldiers back then wore capes? Come on!)
I regularly read Postimees, one of Estonia's daily national newspapers, and today has been Pronkssõdur day - the day where every leading news story is about what different important - and not so important - people in Estonia think about this guy.
One really important person who made his opinion clear today was Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, who told Eesti Radio that:
Kõige enam sümboliseerib see pronkssõdur seal okupatsiooni ja sellist ausammast okupatsioonile me Tallinna südalinnas Kaarli kiriku kõrval taluma ei peaks.
Basically, "the bronze soldier is a symbol of occupation that doesn't belong next to the Kaarli Church in the heart of Tallinn."
Ever the cautious public servant, Villu Reiljan told the newspaper that it wouldn't solve the problem to move the Bronze Soldier, which Ansip has recommended relocating to a cemetery.
Not one to miss an opportunity to get a few more votes from his base, Edgar Savisaar chimed in saying that the bronze soldier should stay where it is. But I had a hard time translating him without using a dictionary so we'll leave it at that.
Finally, President Arnold Rüütel decided that the best way to scuttle the controversy would be to bury it in red, or blue, black, and white tape. He believes that a commission should be set up to address the matter.
Other than Savisaar, Postimees found two organizations to disagree with Ansip - Vene Erakond Eestis and the Anti-Fascism Committee. VEE said that the Bronze Soldier memorial is a great place to come and put down flowers and honor ones grandfathers who won the war against fascism in World War II.
Sadly, in 2003, VEE only got 0.20 percent of the vote, or 990 votes in total. However, a spokesperson for the group said on ETV that removing the statue would not bode well for Ansip. One can only guess that VEE hopes to double its turn out in the 2007 election.
I think this debate will go on for a long time and never really cease in Estonian society. I mean look at the US. It's 2006 and we are still arguing about the Civil War!