Estonia president backs Soviet war memorial

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TALLINN, Estonia -- Estonia's president vetoed legislation Thursday calling for the removal of a Soviet war memorial, averting at least temporarily a confrontation with Russia.

The bill, which had provoked an angry response from Moscow, now goes back to parliament where lawmakers could override the veto.

The measure would prohibit the public display of monuments that glorify the five-decade Soviet occupation of Estonia. It was specifically aimed at the Bronze Soldier, a World War II memorial in Tallinn, the capital, that has become a rallying point for Estonia's Russian-speaking minority, about one-third of the 1.3 million population.

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