RIGA - President Egils Levits expects Latvia's ethnic Russians to also join calls for the removal of the Soviet-era monument in Victory Park.
Levits said in an interview with TV3 channel on Tuesday that the memorial to the Soviet army in Pardaugava, Riga, has always been a "splinter in the Latvian soul" as it glorifies the occupying army that brought great suffering to Latvia. The issue has become even more pressing as the same army that once occupied Latvia is now waging war and committing crimes in Ukraine.
"I see no other option than to dismantle this monument or to get rid of it in some other way," the president said, stressing that this is also the position supported by a majority of Latvia's people.
Levits would be glad if the monument was removed in great unanimity, with Latvian citizens of Russian descent also backing its dismantling.
When deciding the fate of the Soviet-era monument, people should unite around the democratic and national values written in the Latvian Constitution, Levits said.
"The removal, or even better, demolition of the monument would be an element of this unity. The monument symbolizes the Russian and Soviet army, which brought great suffering to Latvians and is now bringing suffering to Ukrainians. This is an unacceptable symbol to a democratic society," the president said.