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Russian ultranationalist lawmaker calls for severing ties with Estonia

MOSCOW, November 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's flamboyant ultranationalist lawmaker, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, proposed Friday that Russia should sever diplomatic ties with Estonia, its former Soviet ally in the Baltic Region.

"With respect to Estonia, we should sever diplomatic relations and announce an economic blockade," said Zhirinovsky, who is deputy speaker of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.

His remarks came following the Baltic state's passage on a first reading Thursday of a bill allowing the demolition of monuments to Soviet troops who died fighting Nazi forces in the Baltic republic in WWII, but who are branded as 'invaders' by many in the Baltic state today.

The bill bans monuments that commemorate Estonia's 'occupiers' as they could encourage social enmity.

Zhirinovsky, known for his outrageous statements, said the bill is an attempt to review the outcome of World War II, and added that Russia should take a tough position on the matter, as a "pro-Nazi state is emerging close to its border."

Marches of former Nazi SS fighters in Estonia and Latvia, two of three post-Soviet Baltic republics which are now European Union and NATO members, as well as their annexation accusations against Russia, have been a source of tensions between the three states and Russia in recent years.

The lawmaker said it does not even occur to anyone in Germany, defeated by Allied forces in 1945, to dismantle postwar monuments to the liberators.

Some political organizations, largely promoting the interests of the Russian-speaking population in the country, have opposed the legislation, urging Estonian lawmakers to postpone the bill until after parliamentary elections in March 2007.

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