The Tallinn Offensive (Russian: Таллинская наступательная операция) was the Soviet strategic offensive operation corresponding to the German abandonment of mainland Estonia codenamed Operation "Aster" in the Eastern Front (World War II) in 17–26 September 1944.
The left flank of the Soviet Leningrad Front and the Baltic Fleet aimed at the capture of Estonia and its capital Tallinn from the German army detachment "Narwa" and the pro-independence Estonian units.
The Soviet offensive commenced with the Soviet 2nd Shock Army breaching the defence of the II Army Corps along the Emajõgi river in the vicinity of Tartu. The defence decelerated the Soviet advance enough for the "Narwa" to be evacuated from mainland Estonia. On 18 September, the small forces of the constitutional Government of Estonia attacked the German forces in Tallinn, capturing the government buildings from them. By 22 September, th
e city was abandoned by the German forces. Several groups of Estonian troopers commanded by Rear Admiral Johan Pitka attacked the Soviet troops in the defence of the constitutional Government. The Soviet 8th Estonian Rifle Corps broke through the defence, seized Tallinn on 22 September, and the rest of mainland Estonia by 26 September 1944.
Most Estonians view the (Bronze Soldier) as an occupier, a humiliating reminder of the time when their country was forcibly absorbed into the Soviet Union as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, Josef Stalin's infamous deal with Hitler in 1939. Fifteen years after Estonia regained its independence, they see no reason to retain a monument to half a century of repression in a central square of the capital Tallinn.
Moscow and many in Estonia's sizeable Russian-speaking minority regard the statue as a liberator. They focus on what they see as the Soviet liberation of Estonia from Nazi occupation in 1944 on the Red Army's road to Berlin.