Russian authorities to install tank monument across river from Narva
A World War Two-era T-34 Soviet tank is to be installed in the town of Ivangorod, just across the river from Narva and on the Russian side of the border with Estonia.
The tank will be identical to the tank which was last month removed from its plinth, just north of Narva, on the road to Narva-Jõesuu, and relocated at the National War Museum just outside Tallinn, by order of the state.
Ivangorod regional governor Viktor Karpenko told ERR that: "Yes, there are plans to install a T-34 tank. It is an exact copy of the tank that the Estonian authorities dismantled in Narva. In other words, like for like, and the same color, too."
"The monument will be installed on September 11, when there will be a ceremonial unveiling," Karpenko added.
"Its pedestal is two meters in height. Unfortunately, Estonia gave us neither a bronze soldier or a tank, so we decided to install a copy," he went on, referring to a statue removed from its former location in central Tallinn in April 2007, and relocated in the military cemetery across town – a move which sparked several nights' protest, degenerating into rioting and looting.
Ivangorod's proximity to Narva – the towns face each other across the Narva River, which is around 130m wide at the spot where a bridge joins the two cities, via border checkpoints – means that visitors from the Estonian side are likely to cross the border to attend the opening ceremony, Karpenko continued.
"Many Narva residents are very sorry that the memory preserved for the dead of the Great Patriotic War has been ruined," he said.
The Narva T-34 was an original model and was even found to contain some fuel, once its hatch was opened, upon arrival at the war museum, in Viimsi. It had been in its former location for a little over half-a-century.
The Soviet Union produced around 80,000 T-34s of all variants, while the model was exported after the war, seeing service on the Communist side in the Korean War of the early 1950s, and even as recently as the civil war in Angola in the 1970s.
Ivangorod was formerly the Estonian town of Jaanilinn – its present-day name is a direct translation – as per the 1920 Treaty of Tartu, but was excised from the Estonian SSR during the Soviet occupation, and remained in the Russian Federation following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte