Russian Foreign Ministry representative Alexander Lukashevich has released a statement condemning the calls for removal of the Soviet-era Victory Monument in Riga, reports LETA.
“The cynical suggestion by Justice Minister Janis Bordans (All for Latvia-For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK) to tear down the monument to Soviet soldiers in Riga has caused deep indignation in Moscow,” says the statement.
“Such provocative statements prove once again that it is the official policy of Riga to falsify the events of World War II,” believes Lukashevich, adding that the Latvian government supports the initiative to remove the monument which symbolizes, he claims, “reconciliation between the anti-Hitler coalition veterans and former Latvian legionnaires.”
“We hope that Latvian officials will realize that their continual attempts to whitewash the Nazis are complicating the country’s bilateral dialogue with Russia,” says Lukashevich.
More than 11,000 signatures have been collected demanding that the Victory Monument “To the Soldiers of the Soviet Army - the Liberators of Soviet Latvia and Riga from the German Fascist Invaders” be torn down, according to the portal Manabalss.lv.
It is a good move, many say, as the Soviets themselves invaded the Baltic States in 1940, illegally occupying the countries ultimately for the next 50 years.
The persons behind the petition - Roberts Krastins, Emils Gailis and Maris Ruks - emphasize that the area in Pardaugava (Riga) is not the Soviet Army’s Victory Square, but Latvia’s Victory Square, where “the last largest National Song Festival was held.” Therefore, they want to resume the reconstruction of Latvia’s Victory Square that was halted by World War II.