TALLINN - Estonia's state-owned energy group Eesti Energia on Tuesday took off the pedestal the Red Army howitzer that used to stand in front of the power station and shale oil plant in Auvere to relocate it to the war museum at Sinimaed in the same region, regional newspaper Pohjarannik reported.
Reimo Raja, communications manager at Eesti Energia, told the newspaper that the howitzer was not registered in any register as a memorial, and questions had arisen also earlier as to why such a weapon of war must stand near the entrance to power plants.
Raja said that the war museum at Sinimaed had displayed its interest in the howitzer. As Eesti Energia started to renovate the parking areas and green areas at Auvere this summer, it was a suitable time to relocate the howitzer.
"It's definitely better for those who are interested to visit the museum to see the howitzer than to drive here to Auveree," he said.
Raja said Eesti Energia also informed the power plant's employees about the removal of the howitzer Tuesday morning, and so far, to his knowledge, it hasn't caused controversy.
The leader of the energy workers' trade union, Andrei Zaitsev, expressed his indignation at what had happened and said that the majority of the union's members had an extremely negative opinion of the removal of the howitzer.
"It is a memorial to those who died in World War II, including those who fought in Estonian Rifle Corps. I don't see any reason to link this memorial to the war that is currently going on in Ukraine," he said, noting that the howitzer has been maintained by workers of the power plant and was recently repainted.
According to the union leader, the management of Eesti Energia behaved ugly, and this creates interethnic animosity. Zaitsev recalled that the howitzer was already removed from Auvere once, in the early 1990s, by Estonian border guards. However, it was brought back on the same day following an order by Konstantin Sentsugov, the director of the power plant at the time.