The ex-Soviet nuclear submarine base and training center at Paldiski, last remaining Russian military site in Estonia, was turned over to Estonian control September 26, marking the final completion of Russia's military withdrawal from the country. In a speech at the site, Estonian president Lennart Meri pointed out that the symbolic restitution was taking place 56 years to the day from the September 26, 1939 decision of a blackmailed Estonian government to yield Paldiski in the hope of sparing Tallinn that fate. Meri expressed confidence that next year's 700th anniversary of Paldiski--known historically as Lodenrode, Meri recalled--will mark the town's return to peaceful maritime commerce. (12)
From their base in Paldiski, Soviet nuclear submarines ventured into all the world's seas to threaten many countries. The dismantling of the base and decommissioning of its two nuclear reactors took several years to complete. Under a 1994 bilateral agreement, the Russian military carried out nuclear decontamination measures at the site, built protective encasements around the reactors, and removed their nuclear components to Russia.
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