TALLINN - Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who visited the northeastern border town of Narva on Monday, promised that the moving of Soviet monuments will be done with respect for all parties and that nothing will be destroyed.
According to Kallas, she had a very meaningful discussion with Narva city council members. "I am happy to see that the city council members of Narva also understand the necessity of such decisions, as the situation has fundamentally changed," the prime minister said.
Kallas added that Russia's war against Ukraine has torn open the wounds that exist in Estonian society and the war has essentially brought to light again all the crimes committed by the Soviets during the occupation of Estonia.
According to the prime minister, it is important that security is ensured in Estonia, including internal security, and in order to ensure public order, Soviet monuments must be moved before internal tensions grow to a level where it would already have a much higher price. "It is important that this problem must be solved once and for all and there was a common understanding with Narva city council members regarding that," Kallas said.
She thanked the city authorities of Narva for the fact that they too have come to the conclusion that the Soviet tank must be moved from its current location. "I can also confirm that the moving of monuments with Soviet symbols will be done respectfully to the memories of those people who may be linked to them. History must continue to be remembered, but also explained -- this helps us understand each other," Kallas said.
According to her, monuments with historical and cultural value will definitely go to museums and it will be the task of the Government Office to organize this. "We are not going to destroy anything, but do it with dignity," Kallas said.
According to her, regardless of the understanding of the past of the people of Estonia, everyone has a common future and this must be focused on. "Estonia is the common home of all of us, and no one wants problems at home and that there is uproar or destruction at home. Therefore, we must not allow ourselves to be provoked so that tensions arise," Kallas added.
Narva Mayor Katri Raik said that some agitation has emerged in Narva and the Narva tank has become a memorial of memorials, while Narva has become a city of one tank. "Narva city council wants to avoid confrontation," Raik said, adding that two weeks ago, the city government would not have had enough consensus to remove the tank.
Raik said that moving the tank would not be delayed. "It is not something we will be dealing with still in October or November," the mayor said, adding that the tank will be stored for the time being. "It is important for the people of Narva that the tank stays in Narva," she said.
She expressed hope that tensions would not increase in Narva and added that the guarding of the tank should also be stopped. A factor that could aid in this is if residents of Narva had the certainty that nothing is going to happen to the tank under the cover of night.