RIGA - Latvia's Russian Union (LKS) agrees that this year holding May 9 celebrations by the Soviet-era memorial in Riga would be inappropriate but insists on allowing people to gather and lay flowers at the monument, Miroslavs Mitrofanovs (LKS), a member of Riga City Council, told LETA.
The councilor said that Riga City Council and police should work out a procedure to regulate the May 9 gathering by the monument. "We cannot leave people to themselves, because the number of people will be high and their flow has to be controlled," Mitrofanovs said, adding that talks with the city's executive director are ongoing.
"We agree that today a celebration would be inappropriate. But we insist that events commemorating World War II, such as laying flowers by the memorial in Pardaugava, do not contradict today's reality. On the contrary, they will serve to reinforce antiwar priorities," LKS said in a statement.
As LETA found out, the nongovernmental group 9maijs.lv has already sought authorization for the annual Victory Day event at the monument in Pardaugava. The local government has yet to review the application.
As reported, Riga Mayor Martins Stakis (For/Progressives) said he would call on the capital city's executive director not to authorize the annual May 9 celebration by a Soviet-era memorial in Riga.
He called on event organizers to not event seek the authorization of the event. Even if the local government does not manage to ban it, no catering, sales, sound devices and fireworks will be allowed at the event.
In Stakis' opinion, such an event could now be regarded as a "celebration of death".
May 9 is the day Russia marks the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945. Many Russian-speakers in Latvia also celebrate Victory Day on May 9. Elsewhere in the world, including in Latvia, the official day for commemoration of the end of World War II is May 8, while May 9 is Europe Day.