Estonia hit by cyberattacks after removing a Soviet monument | News | DW

The Estonian government said Thursday it had repelled major cyberattacks that hit its institutions shortly after a Soviet monument was removed.

“Yesterday, Estonia faced the largest cyberattacks it has faced since 2007,” said Luukas Ilves, State Secretary for Digital Transformation at the Estonian Ministry of Economy and Communications.

“With some brief and minor exceptions, websites remained fully available throughout the day. The attack went largely unnoticed in Estonia,” he added.

Russian group acknowledges responsibility

Killnet, a Russian hacking group, claimed responsibility for the cyber attacks on Estonia.

The group said it blocked access to more than 200 Estonian state and private institutions, including online citizen identification systems and government agencies. However, Ilves insisted the “attempt to attack” had not been “effective”.

Killnet said the attack was in response to Estonia’s removal of a Soviet Tu-34 tank from public display in Narva, an ethnically Russian-majority border town.

Estonia’s drive to remove Soviet-era monuments

With tensions already running high between Moscow and NATO member Estonia over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin has criticized Estonia’s decision to remove the Soviet-era monument in Narva.

“We find that outrageous. A war with a shared history, the removal of monuments to those who saved Europe from fascism is of course outrageous. That doesn’t make any nation look good, including Estonia,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier this month.

Since regaining full independence in 1991, Estonia has removed several monuments glorifying the Soviet Union. Tallinn says such figures remind Estonians of the painful Soviet occupation of their country.

The relocation of a Red Army monument in 2007 sparked unrest for days.

fb/sms (dpa, Reuters, AP)

Correction, August 18, 2022: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that riots broke out after the memorial was removed on Tuesday. These riots actually happened in 2007. This has now been corrected. We apologize for the error.

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