Since the Estonian War Museum (Eesti sõjamuuseum) already has a Soviet T-34 tank in its collection, and given the tensions surrounding the fate of the Narva tank of the same model, until Tuesday a war memorial in the eastern city, relocating it to Viimsi is inappropriate, the municipal council chair Lauri Hussar (Eesti 200) says.
The museum is under the Ministry of Defense's remit, and is the intended destination of the tank, removed Tuesday morning by government order after the municipality there opted out of making a decision.
Hussar told ERR that: "Moving the tank was certainly a unique decision and one which had to be made quickly. AS for Viimsi Municipality, I would today expect clear and specific messages from the government on how to ensure its safe storage, in Viimsi."
"Because the issue is a loaded question, then certainly the local government should be informed also as to any threat assessments with which we should be familiar. What form will the cooperation with the municipality take? These are all very key issues which the government's representatives have as of today not drawn attention to, nor have they contacted us in connection with these issues."
"Considering that the local residents' sense of security is important and the Viimsi municipality is constantly dealing with it, I would expect the government to take it to heart and consider these issues," Hussar went on, noting also that the fact that the museum already has a T-34 tank on outdoor display and that Restoration of Estonian Independence Day falls this Saturday, another location might be more reasonable.
Local residents have already approached him on the issue, Hussar added.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) announced Tuesday morning that the tank's final resting place would be the war museum in Viimsi, less than two hours after a cordon was set up around the monument, formerly located by the Narva-Narva-Jõesuu highway, ahead of its removal and the removal of other Soviet-era monuments in the ear.
In the event it took around four hours for the task of removing the monument, using a military flatbed truck and crane, before it could head off to Viimsi, where it had just arrived at the time of writing.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine from February 24 brought such monuments into focus, and several have already been removed or relocated. The government was anxious to avoid a repeat of the 2007 "Bronze Soldier Night" riots which followed the relocation of a Soviet war memorial statue to a military cemetery in Tallinn, and took over management of the issue after local government in Narva announced Monday it would be unable to make a decision.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Interview with Indrek Kiisler.