Around 150 people lay flowers at Soviet-era monument to mark "liberation" from German occupation

  • 2019-10-13
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA -  Marking the 75th anniversary of Riga's "liberation" from German occupation, which effectively was replaced with Soviet occupation, around 150 people today laid flowers at a Soviet-era memorial in Victory Park in Riga, LETA observed.

Although the Foreign Ministry has already called the planned celebration of this anniversary in Moscow unacceptable, representatives of the Russian and Belarusian embassies in Riga, including Russian Ambassador to Latvia Yevgeny Lukyanov, also turned out for the event in Victory Park. 

Participants of the gathering also included Alfreds Rubiks, a former first secretary of the Latvian Communist Party, pro-Kremlin activist Janis Kuzins and a bunch of elderly people. Some participants had arrived with pictures of war veterans and some wore clothes resembling military uniforms.

Lukyanov, Rubiks and Kuzins made short speeches which the crowd met with applause. 

The event was monitored by a police patrol.

As reported, the Foreign Ministry has underlined that it deplores the firework display planned for October 13 in Moscow, which is intended to commemorate the “freeing” of Riga from the German occupation.

The ministry indicated that for Latvia and other Baltic states the arrival of the Soviet forces meant nearly 50 more years of occupation, this time under the Soviet regime. 

Latvia categorically rejects the most recent attempts by the Russian Federation to re-write history according to their whim and exonerate crimes perpetrated by Stalin’s regime during the Second World War including the violations of international law related to the notorious Hitler-Stalin Pact signed on August 13, 1939, which had the effect of carving up Europe into “spheres of interest”. The illegal understanding mutually developed by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany opened the way for the USSR’s aggression against Latvia at the beginning of World War II, not to mention its occupation and annexation, which has been declared illegal and illegitimate by the entire democratic world, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

While welcoming the end of Nazism, we would like to remind the world that for Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, the renewal of freedom and independence took place not on October 13, 1945, but about fifty years later, taking into account that the Red Army marching into Latvia meant nothing else other than a renewal of occupation.

We consider the festive fireworks planned to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the time when the Soviet armed forces “freed” Riga from the German occupation to be an unfriendly action, the ministry said.