Estonia is currently being rocked by a dispute over a monument commemorating the country’s liberation from Nazi Germany by the Soviet Union. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine many Estonians have called for the tank which stands in the border town of Narva to be removed. Tallinn now wants to destroy such monuments. Narva’s town hall has taken the initiative and decided to remove the tank on its own.

Today, Europe’s press debates the dispute in Estonia. Here are some opinions from a selection of European publications presented by eurotopics.

Courageous city councillors

The local politicians in this majority Russian-speaking city are those best positioned to communicate the decision to the citizens, Eesti Päevaleht writes:

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“The decision was neither easy nor popular, and it came at the price of much popular support. It is a sign of true integration. To move on, the same municipal councillors must dare to look their voters in the eye and explain the decision to remove the tank. Especially those who know the local situation well, which is different from that in the rest of Estonia. In the meantime the state must hold back for a while so as not to spoil what has been achieved with rash shows of force.”

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30 years wasted

This decision was long overdue, Postimees writes:

“The process of dismantling the tank highlights a good 30 years of neglect on the part of Estonia’s politicians. The war in Ukraine has exposed this mistake and now calls for quick solutions. It is well known that certain Estonian parties have preferred to curry favour with Russian-speaking voters, who have never had to leave the Russian information zone and did not have to learn Estonian. One can only speculate about whether, under the leadership of the Centre Party, Narva would have supported the removal of the tank.”

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