Political analyst: Narva tank monument object of political struggle

Tank T-34 monument north of Narva, Ida-Viru County.
Tank T-34 monument north of Narva, Ida-Viru County. Source: Visit Estonia

Political scientist Peeter Taim believes that Soviet monuments in Estonia, and especially the Tank T-34 monument in Narva, are becoming a core issue of the soon-to-begin Riigikogu elections campaign.

Political analyst Peeter Taim told "Aktuaalne kaamera" news that politicians are trying to make the possible removal of the tank monument in Narva a part of the elections campaign.

He compared the situation to when politicians were arguing over the fate of the Bronze Soldier monument in Tallinn. The controversial monument was removed from Tallinn's Tõnismäe urban region to the Defense Forces Cemetery in 2007, soon after the Reform Party won the elections.

"The Reform Party and its leader Andrus Ansip built their campaign on promising to remove the statue from the heart of the capital. As Ansip advertised removing the monument, his opponents hoped to attract the votes of Russian-speaking citizens by opposing the move. But it is a fact that now, the unfortunate tank [in Narva] has been made an object of political struggle," Taim concluded.

Art historian Aleksandra Murre said that it is advantageous to wage the monuments war before elections as it stirs passions. She added that it would not be wise to just tear down all Soviet monuments, and that a more thorough debate is needed.

"The problem is not with monuments but people. And the rapid and forced process we are seeing today holds nothing positive for society," she suggested.

Historian David Vseviov said that the Tank T-34 in Narva became an issue not because of looming elections but after Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24 that altered its symbolic meaning.

"We are seeing the tanks of the same country, its legal successor fire on peaceful residents. And having picked a side in this war, we cannot see this symbol for anything less than it is," he suggested.

"We'll have to hope people will understand, but I see no other choice in this situation but to remove that tank," he added.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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