War museum: Narva tank could be on display as early as this weekend

The Estonian War Museum already has a T-34/85 tank on display (pictured) similar to the model being relocated from Narva.
The Estonian War Museum already has a T-34/85 tank on display (pictured) similar to the model being relocated from Narva. Source: Estonian War Museum

A museum just outside Tallinn says it is ready to host a controversial tank monument which is in the process of being removed from the eastern Estonian town of Narva by government order.

If all goes well the tank, a T-34 Soviet model dating to World War Two, could be in place at the Estonian War Museum (Eesti sõjamuuseum), in Viimsi, by the weekend, head of the museum Hellar Lill said Tuesday.

Lill told ERR's radio news that: "If there are no major surprises regarding the condition of the tank, it will be viewable to all visitors during normal opening hours.

"Our heavy equipment hangar is open Fridays to Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. We are also are ready to organize a hangar there [for the tank], and we have also previously made tours by appointment out-of-hours," Lill went on.

While the tank, whose removal commenced early on Tuesday after several weeks' political wrangling over the matter, is no doubt an emotive subject, Lill said, the museum already has a T-34 on display in the museum's outdoor area, which can be viewed at any time.

The museum will display the tank in its historical context, he added. "First, the tank will be added to the war museum's collection, where it can be viewed in the wider context of the events of World War Two, and second, as a exhibit of military equipment. You cannot exactly detach the tank entirely from its own story," Lill went on.

The hangar has security installed which can also be enhanced if need be, he added. It already houses artillery pieces and military vehicles.

As to other monuments being removed from the Narva area on Tuesday, Lill said that since these were predominantly edifices of rock, stone or some other construction material, there was no sense in keeping them in their current form, though preserving some of the details from the memorials was wise, he said.

The museum is also continuing to work with the War Graves Commission (Sõjahaudade komisjon) in order to ascertain what might be of interest in terms of historical heritage preservation. The museum is also communicating with Tartu's city government on plans surrounding the Raadi memorial, one of the first Soviet-era monuments to come under the spotlight after the current conflict began in late February, though Lill could not give a time-frame for this.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Karin Koppel

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