December 1, 2006 -- Russia has denounced moves in Estonia, a former part of the Soviet Union, to criminalize public displays of Soviet symbols.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin described the draft law, which would equate Soviet and Nazi symbols, as "blasphemous."
The Estonian government on November 30 approved the bill and sent it to parliament for adoption.
The amendment bans the public display of symbols including the Soviet hammer and sickle and the Nazi swastika, saying these emblems incite hatred.
(AFP, ITAR-TASS, Reuters)
Click on the map to see how many Russians live in each of the former Soviet republics.
RUSSIANS OUTSIDE OF RUSSIA: A total of some 30 million ethnic Russians remain in the republics of the former Soviet Union, including large diasporas in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. This historical legacy has often been a source of tension between Russia and its neighbors. "Support for the rights of compatriots abroad is a crucial goal," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his April 2005 state-of-the-nation address. "It cannot be subject to a diplomatic or political bargaining. Those who do not respect, observe, or ensure human rights have no right to demand that human rights be respected by others."
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