The monument to the T-34 tank, installed in the Estonian city of Narva, bordering Russia, must be dismantled despite the protests of some local residents. This opinion was expressed by the President of Estonia Alar Karis on Friday, August 5. “If recently I thought that it was enough to put a sign explaining the history next to the tank on the banks of the Narova, now this is not enough. Estonian state website of the broadcasting company ERR.
According to Alar Karis, Russia’s attack on Ukraine, launched on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin, “changed the meaning of many World War II monuments in Europe, including in Estonia.” “And the T-34 tank on the banks of the Narova no longer symbolizes only the events of 1944 – the retreat of German troops, the offensive of the Red Army, fallen soldiers and Estonia, which was under foreign rule. For many Estonians, this old tank symbolizes the deadly attacks of Russian troops on Ukrainian cities and villages. I also think so, because I myself saw what pain and grief almost the same tanks bring to Ukraine. Such a symbol does not fit into our public space,” the president stressed.
Estonian authorities fear a repeat of history with the dismantling of the “Bronze Soldier”
The day before, the Estonian government made a decision “as soon as possible” remove all Soviet monuments from public space. According to their estimates, there are from 200 to 400 of them in the country. Special attention was paid to the monument to the T-34 tank in Narva. Many locals in the 90 percent Russian-speaking city oppose the demolition, and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas expressed fears that moving the monument to a museum could spark social tensions. Kallas, however, believes that the government should “take responsibility” for the operation.
The Estonian authorities fear that the unrest that broke out in 2007 amid the transfer of the monument to Soviet soldiers who died in World War II, now better known as “bronze soldier“. Then, as a result of mass demonstrations by the Russian-speaking population, one person died. Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said that “the tank must be removed within a month,” if necessary, convening an extraordinary meeting of parliament for this. According to him, if the government allows the conflict around the T tank -34 in Narva to drag out, this can lead to similar consequences.