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Narva tank dominates party leaders' panel at Opinion Festival closer

Party leaders' debate at the Opinion Festival 2022.
Party leaders' debate at the Opinion Festival 2022. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The annual Opinion Festival (Arvamusfest) in Paide ended Saturday evening in traditional fashion, with the leaders of the five parties represented at the Riigikogu taking part in a panel discussion dominated by the issue of the Narva tank monument.

Moderated by ERR's Arp Müller and Mirko Ojakivi, the leaders of the coalition parties Isamaa (Helir-Valdor Seeder) and the Social Democrats (Lauri Läänemets) were joined on the platform by Jürgen Ligi of the Reform Party – deputizing for Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who was unwell.

From the opposition, the freshly re-elected Center leader Jüri Ratas also took part, along with the Conseverative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) leader Martin Helme.

Läänemets, one of the most prominent political voices in the tank monument controversy so far, called for the state to take over the matter, arguing that Narva city government were now not up to the task on their own.

The tank, a replica Soviet World War Two-era T-34, should be placed in a museum and not relocated at an outdoor site in Narva, he added.

Narva's mayor, Katri Raik, has said that the tank's permanent resting place will be decided within the next fortnight and would be removed from its current location on a plinth just north of the city.

Other topics discussed included the energy price crisis and means of coping with that once heating season starts – certainly still some way off in the distance given the hot weather this year's festival was blessed with over both days – and, in a related category, climate change.

The Opinion Festival had previously taken place over three days in the central Estonian town of Paide. While the venue was unchanged this year, the event ran Friday and Saturday.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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