Narva mayor: Tank decision needs input of city council
Narva Mayor Katri Raik, believes that any potential government decision to move the controversial Narva tank monument without first listening to the Narva City Council, would be seen as disregarding the views of local residents.
Raik met with Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets and Culture Minister Piret Hartman in Tallinn on Wednesday, to discuss the future of the Soviet-era "T-34" tank monument located on the left bank of the Narva River, as well as other Soviet monuments in Narva.
"We shared information about what we have been doing in Narva over the past few days, what we plan to do, and what difficulties we face," Raik told ERR after the meeting.
Raik said, that during the meeting she explained to Läänemets and Hartman what the potential consequences could be if the government decided to take sudden steps without first consulting the Narva City Council.
"I want to stress that the decision (about the tank's potential removal) is in the hands of Narva City Council on Monday, so the city government can only prepare for the decisions that the council takes, and then act upon them," Raik added.
The Narva Mayor believes the government is prepared to wait for a decision from Narva City Council regarding the tank's fate, after which they intend to remove it fairly swiftly from its current site.
Raik said, that any decisions taken on the tank's future without first consulting the city council would be seen as disregarding the views of Narva residents. The Narva Mayor also stressed the importance of a recently conducted survey in which two thirds of the 3,000 Narvians questioned, believed decisions about the tank's fate should be made by the city council.
While the Narva City Council has promised to make a decision about the tank's removal next Monday, Interior Minister Lauri Läänemets said on Wednesday, that he expected a resolution as early as this week.
However, Raik believes that the current pace of developments towards resolving the issue is already more than sufficient. "(The process of) resolving the Narva tank issue is (moving forward) not day-by-day, but hour-by-hour. We are determined to solve 30 years of doing nothing in two days. This is the relentless pace at which we are moving," Raik said.
While Raik admitted that Wedensday's meeting was "a difficult conversation," some common ground does appear to have been reached regarding the tank's future as a museum exhibit, with the mayor believing the museum that houses it should be in Narva.
"The current position of the city of Narva is known," said Raik. "The Narva authorities see the tank as a museum piece, in Narva. This is the key point in this process. The tank can and should remain in Narva," she explained. "Cooperation with leading Estonian museums is certainly a sensible suggestion by (Culture) Minister (Piret) Hartman," Raik added.
On Wednesday, a video camera was installed at the Narva tank, with a live stream of the monument now available here.
The Narva municipality said on social media, that the proposal to install the camera was made by local volunteers who are at the monument every day. "The camera only shows the tank monument, as people expressed concern that provocations might take place nearby, so we supported the proposal."
The Narva City Council also expressed hope that, following the camera's installation, people will be able to return to their normal lives, families and other important daily activities.
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Editor: Michael Cole