Arnold Meri

Arnold Meri

Arnold Meri (born 1919) is an Estonian veteran of World War II, a Hero of the Soviet Union [ [ Связисты Герои Советского Союза] ru icon] and has been charged with crimes against humanity. [ Estonian accused of genocide] ] He is the cousin of former President of Estonia, Lennart Meri. Currently he is the chairman of the Estonian Anti-Fascist Committee. [ [ Red Army veteran facing genocide charge] ]

Meri voluntarily joined the Red Army in 1940 while the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact‎ was still in force. After Nazi Germany attacked in June 1941, he was wounded in battle while serving as a platoon commander in north-west Russia in 1941. In August 1941 he was awarded a Gold Star of the Hero of the Soviet Union for organizing the defense of the headquarters of the Estonian Territorial Corps when the German army broke through the lines near Dno in July 1941. In reality the defense was commanded by captain Georg Loog,cite book
editor=Leonid Lentsman, Endel Sõgel
title=Eesti rahvas Nõukogude Liidu Suures Isamaasõjas, 1941-1945
publisher=Eesti Raamat
] but he was not deemed to be suitable for the decoration, as he was not a member of the Communist Party and had been an officer of the Estonian Army. [ Võõrad Suled] - "Eesti Ekspress", November 18, 2003 et icon] Meri was specifically commended for remaining on the battlefield despite being wounded four times.Fact|date=May 2008 Meri retired from the Red Army as a colonel. The building that housed the headquarters of the 22nd Estonian Rifle Corps in July of 1941 is currently occupied by a secondary school. In 2008 the school was renamed in honour of Arnold Meri.Fact|date=May 2008

From 1945 to 1949 he served as the secretary of the central committee of Komsomol in Estonia. In 1948 he was awarded the highest Soviet order, the Order of Lenin.

Meri's opinion on the Estonian part in World War II:

Charge of Genocide

In 2003, the Estonia Security Police investigated Meri for participating in the deportations of Estonians in Hiiumaa in 1949. [ [ Entisen presidentin serkkua syytetään neuvostoajan kyydityksistä] - "Baltic Guide"] In August 2007, Estonian Western Circuit Prosecutor’s Office formally charged Arnold Meri with genocide, for allegedly organising the deportation of 251 Estonian civilians from the island of Hiiumaa to the Novosibirsk region of Siberia. [ Cousin of former Estonian president charged with genocide] ] According to the Prosecutor’s Office, most of the deportees were women and children, and 43 subsequently died. [ Cousin of former Estonian president charged with genocide] ] Meri has acknowledged taking part in the deportations, but denies responsibility. [ Estonian accused of genocide] ]

On 20 May 2008 the trial against Meri began. Meri plead not guilty. [ [ Arnold Meri ei tunnistanud end genotsiidis süüdi] ] In his defense, Mr. Meri maintains that he was appointed to monitor the compliance of the process with then-current laws and to ensure that the punitive actions were limited to the individuals specifically listed by security services. Mr. Meri claims that he was unable to control the abuses of the local authorities and withdrew from the process. For this decision he himself was prosecuted, stripped of his military honors and expelled from the Communist Party in 1949. Mr. Meri maintains that he is targeted by the current Estonian authorities in retaliation for his anti-fascist activities and harsh critique of the Estonian government.Fact|date=May 2008


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