August 21, 2022

Tanks but No Tanks


Tanks but No Tanks
So long, and tanks for all the fish. Twitter, @moondragon_wkad.

On August 16, the town of Narva, Estonia, swiftly removed a Soviet war monument. The iconic T-34/85 tank was shuttled by truck to a local military museum, where the World War II relic will be put on display.

The project took about four hours to complete, during which time a busy border crossing with Russia was blocked by heavy equipment.

In recent years, Estonia has been working to remove pro-Russian monuments constructed during its Soviet occupation between 1944 and 1991. For many Estonians, these monuments signify political repression under an alien regime.

However, many ethnic Russians living in Estonia see the destruction of monuments as an erasure of their heritage and an affront to the sacrifices of their ancestors. In 2007, the removal of a war memorial in the shape of a bronze Red Army soldier in the capital city of Tallinn led to violent protests, leaving 171 injured and one dead.

For this reason, the destruction of this tank memorial was done with little public notice and tight security. There were no protesters present.

Narva lies on the border with Russia and is Estonia's third largest city. Its population is approximately 50,000; nearly 90% are defined as Russians by ethnicity. Some 97% speak Russian.

This move comes as the Baltic States seek to distance themselves from Russia and denounce its actions in the invasion of Ukraine.

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