Lauristin: Tank should be part of a "Narva 1944 - Mariupol 2022" exhibition
In the context of Russia's war in Ukraine, the Narva tank has unambiguously regained its original meaning as a Russian war machine, which is why it should be brought to the Narva Museum as part of the exhibition "Narva 1944 - Mariupol 2022", according to Marju Lauristin (SDE), professor emeritus at the University of Tartu.
"The war in Ukraine reawakened the tragic memories of people who suffered under Stalinism and Soviet occupation throughout Eastern Europe, including Estonia. That is why, for us, it is a continuation of the Second World War, in which Russia is openly and unashamedly pursuing its imperial ambitions, which had been set back in the intervening period," Lauristin wrote in an opinion piece in news outlet Eesti Päevaleht.
According to Lauristin, however, this parallel is unfortunately not as obvious to those nations that fought in the Second World War, who afterwards primarily saw Russia as an ally against Hitler.
"Therefore, it is the mission of Estonia's politicians to bring to the attention of the Western and global public, the full extent and impunity of Russia's record of crimes against humanity in the 20th and 21st centuries, showing what is happening in Ukraine as proof of the continuity of Russia's foreign policy, from Molotov to Lavrov," Lauristin added.
According to Lauristin, Estonia could contribute more courageously to the anti-Putin activism of Russian citizens by supporting anti-Putinist artistic actions and events, such as those at Narva's Vaba Lava cultural center.
"Making the most of Narva's great cultural potential to support Ukraine and offering internationally visible cultural resistance in Narva to Russia's policy of aggression, should be a priority of Estonian cultural policy."
Lauristin believes that political compromises are not possible with Russian citizens who support Putin's war, neither in Narva nor elsewhere in Estonia. However, she also stated that people should not be prejudiced against all Narvians because of those who support Putin, nor that all Russian citizens living in Estonia should be suspected of being Putinists.
According to Lauristin, the Narva tank has inevitably become a test of attitudes towards Russia, and it must be made clear to those defending it that, in the context of the war in Ukraine, the tank has unequivocally regained its original meaning as a Russian war machine.
"The tank with the red star must find its place in a museum as soon as possible - in the Narva Museum, perhaps it could become part of a 'Narva 1944 - Mariupol 2022' exhibition," said Lauristin.
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Editor: Michael Cole