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Latvia decided to demolish a Soviet monument to the liberators of Riga

14-5-2022 |

In the Latvian capital a decision to dismantle the monument to Soviet soldiers - liberators of Riga, which is perceived there as a symbol of the occupation of Latvia by the Soviet Union.

It is planned to demolish the monument to Soviet soldiers-liberators of Riga in Latvia. At its extraordinary meeting on Friday, May 13, the Riga City Council by a majority voted for the dismantling of the controversial monument and instructed the "Riga Monument Agency" of the city government to take all necessary measures.


In response to this decision, unauthorized protests were held near Town Hall Square in the Latvian capital with the participation of Russian-speaking residents. Several people were detained by police, including MEP Tatiana Zhdanok.

In Russia, there were also protests against the decision to demolish the monument; they took place in front of the Latvian Embassy in Moscow.

Earlier the Saeima of Latvia legally allowed taking down one of the most disputable monuments (it`s a monument in Bauska devoted to the Latvians who fought against the invading Red Army in 44th year and is considered by the Russian speaking minority as a display of "fascism") in the Baltic States.

On Thursday, the Latvian parliament passed a series of amendments to an intergovernmental agreement with Russia concluded in 1994. In particular, action of clause 13 of the document where it is specified that "taking into account international practice the Latvian party provides care, beautification and safety of memorial constructions and places of mass burials of soldiers in the territory of the Latvian Republic" was stopped.

This was sharply condemned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and the Russian Embassy in Riga.

A controversial monument

It is still unclear when the monument, consisting of a 79 meter high column, as well as giant bronze sculptures of the Motherland and soldiers-liberators, is to be dismantled. For the past week, police have been blocking access to the site after unauthorized protests were held there, with some participants also expressing their support for Russia.

In Latvia, ethnic Russians make up about a quarter of the population. According to polls, a certain part of them partly support the course of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his war of aggression against Ukraine.

During World War II, Latvia was alternately occupied by the Soviet Union and Germany. After the war ended, the Baltic states were forced to remain part of the Soviet Union until 1991. Most Latvians perceive May 9 and the monument to the liberators of Soviet Latvia and Riga from the German invaders not as a symbol of victory over Hitler's Germany, but as a symbol of the renewed occupation of Latvia by the Soviet Union.

Source: DW