Tanks are not needed to remember the fallen when there are graves and graveyards, President Alar Karis said on Tuesday, after the removal of the Soviet T-34 tank monument from Narva. Karis believes a line should now be drawn under the issue.
The T-34 tank which stood on the banks of the Narva River is now in the Estonian Military Museum, where it will form part of history and no longer have the ability to bring us into conflict. A museum is an appropriate place for an old tank.
The government gave Narva City Council the opportunity to decide for itself how to remove from its pedestal this symbol of war, the very meaning of which was transformed to such an extent by Russia's attack on Ukraine that its removal became inevitable.
Unfortunately, Narva City Council declined to take a decision, as a result of which the decision had to be made by the government. Indecisiveness on their part is not something the majority of Estonian society would have understood.
Following today's events, I recommend drawing a line under the story of said tank. Narva is a dignified city with whose residents we stand shoulder to shoulder looking towards a shared future, not back to back glowering at different views of the past.
We do not have multiple, separate pasts, simply those on different sides who fell, remembrance of whom is a natural part of our lives in the present. This is true of Narva as it is throughout Estonia. We do not need tanks to remember the fallen when we have graves and graveyards.
I thank the people of Narva for maintaining their composure. I hope that those who are dedicated to the good of their city close their doors and windows to calls inciting acrimony and confrontation. Abidance of the law and loyalty to the future of their hometown will help everyone calmly get past any unease today's events have engendered.
Editor: Helen Wright