Victory Day celebrations underway in Riga

  • 2014-05-09
  • Staff and wire reports, RIGA

Although the May 9 celebrations - marking the end of WWII, according to Russians, though the rest of the world marks the end of the war on May 8 - at the Victory Monument in Riga's Pardaugava neighborhood started in the morning, there are now considerably more people arriving to the event, reports LETA.

The people in the park place flowers at the monument, watch performances and visit the local vending stalls to buy snacks. Other participants are sitting on benches and drinking alcoholic beverages they have brought with them, as no alcohol is sold on the site.

Among the visitors are small children who are brought by their parents. A lot of people are wearing ribbons of Saint George and holding miniature flags with the caption "Victory! 1941 – 1945."

What they are celebrating is the end of WWII, what Russians consider their victory over Nazi Germany. What is lost in the celebrations, however, is any remembrance that WWII was started by Soviet Russia, together with Nazi Germany - both totalitarian regimes. This was through complicity in writing an agreement to conquer, and divide Europe between the two governments – Hitler and Stalin, as partners, signed a non-agression pact called the Molotov-Ribbentrop Treaty in 1939.

The end of the war that is today being celebrated by Russians is one in which Soviet Russia had a hand in starting in the first place.

Today in Riga, at the Victory Monument, Mayor Nils Usakovs (HarmonyCenter) and other Riga City Council members, without acknowledging forces which led to the start of the war, nonetheless placed flowers at the monument, honoring the victims of World War II.

Russian Ambassador in Latvia Alexander Veshnyakov and Ukrainian and Belarusian embassy staff members placed flowers at the monument this morning as well.

The number of visitors in the morning was comparatively small. A large number of police officers and State Emergency Medical Service doctors observed the event.

The event is said to celebrate the "defeat of Nazism," though for Latvians and millions of people of other countries held hostage behind the Iron Curtain for almost 50 years of Soviet oppression, this date did not mark the return to peace or independence.