The Lääne-Viru County town of Rakvere has been the scene of an ideologically-related battle over a Christmas tree – two in fact, since the town center now sports both an 'official' and an 'unofficial' spruce tree.
The issue began when noted actress and star of both stage and small screen Ülle Lichtfeld sold a spruce tree to the town, with the purpose of erecting it in the town square.
However, news that Lichtfeldt had donated the proceeds to an LGBT+ film festival, prompted deputy mayor of the town Andres Jaadla to set up a rival tree near the rail station.
The issue was both hotly debated on social media, ERR's online news in Estonian reports, and by the commercial media, and is not the first time Christmas trees have sparked controversy or at least interest in the town. In 2015, the town dispensed with an actual tree altogether, making use instead of recyclable materials; last Christmas Rakvere's tree was in the running for prize of prettiest public Christmas tree in the land.
Yet another spruce tree in Rakvere, this one near the town square, is bedecked with pictures of cats and dogs looking for a new owner (see gallery).
Andres Jaadla resigned as Rakvere mayor in 2012 following accusations of corruption, and left the Reform Party the following year. As noted he is now deputy mayor.
Ülle Lichtfeldt, who is married to Social Democratic Party (SDE) leader Indrek Saar, has a long association with Rakvere Theater, a noted cultural hotspot in the town of 15,000 people. She also stars in long-running soap opera "Õnne 13", on ETV.
Editor: Andrew Whyte