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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 22.05.2019, 22:41

Victory Monument in Riga protected by agreement with Russia

BC, Riga, 09.06.2016.Print version
The Victory Monument in Riga built in Soviet times to commemorate Soviet soldiers killed in World War II is protected by an agreement signed with Russia in the 1990s, the Latvian Foreign Ministry reported LETA.

The monument is protected by the Latvian-Russian agreement signed in 1994 about social protection of the Russian retired militaries and their family members living in Latvia, the ministry’s press secretary, Raimonds Jansons, told LETA.


He said the agreement provided also for preservation and maintenance of memorials and burial sites. The parties to the agreement had undertaken to refrain from any unilateral actions without prior consent of the other party on a number of subjects, including the Victory Monument in Riga, Jansons explained.


It has been suggested that the Victory Monument to the Soviet soldiers killed in World War II could be moved from its current location in the Victory Park in Riga to some area where Soviet soldiers are buried. The suggestion was made by Maris Ruks, the author of the collective legislative initiative about re-creation of the original Victory Square, at the meeting of the parliamentary committee on mandates, ethics and submissions reviewing his initiative about recreation of the Victory Square based on the original concept conceived in the 1930s.


The initiative has been signed by more than 10,000 citizens, the minimum threshold for submitting any public initiative to the parliament as a collective legislative initiative, therefore the lawmakers must discuss it.


The parliamentary committee agreed to seek opinions from the Riga City Council and the Latvian Foreign Ministry on the subject.


In the explanatory statement to their initiative, Ruks and his associates underlined that the Victory Square in Pardaugava, the part of Riga on the left bank of the River Daugava, where the Soviet Victory Monument was built in the 1980s was originally dedicated to the Latvian armed forces’ decisive victory over Gen. Bermont-Avalov’s German-Russian monarchist troops in 1919. The square was named the Victory Square to celebrate the victory of the freshly-independent Latvian state and therefore it is not appropriate to have there a monument dedicated to the Soviet army’s victory in World War II, they said.


Therefore they called on the parliament to take action to recreate the original Victory Square and to grant a subsidy, start a fundraising campaign or seek a compensation from Russia in order ”to remove the memorial to the Soviet army” from the Victory Park.


Riga’s Russian-speaking residents flock to the Victory Monument on May 9 each year to remember the Soviet army’s victory in World War II, while ethnic Latvians tend to perceive the memorial as a symbol of the lasting occupation of Latvia by the Soviet Union.

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