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Vilnius Municipality considers swapping Green Bridge statue swap with Russia

  • 2015-07-29
  • BNS/TBT Staff/VILNIUS

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simasius has confirmed he received a letter from Nikolai Voishchev, the mayor of the Kaliningrad city Sovetsk, which requested the sale of the recently removed Soviet statues from the Green Bridge in Vilnius to his city.

He also confirmed Russia’s Ambassador to Lithuania, Alexander Udaltsov, has made a request that the Lithuanian capital hand over the recently removed Green Bridge statues to the Russian Federation.

Simasius pledged to send responses to both Russian officials later during the day on July 29, 2015. 

However, he outlined Lithuania would want to exchange the Soviet-era sculptures for Lithuanian historical items currently held by the Russian Government. 

"I will definitely specify in the letter that a very large number of valuable Lithuanian historical objects and documents are stored in Russia,” said Simasius. 

“If Russia cherishes the sculptures so much, we could possibly exchange them for our historical items currently in Russia.

“I personally would like the exchange.”

The mayor said he had not yet discussed the proposals from Russia and Kaliningrad with the Culture Ministry. 

He again repeated all ideas surrounding the future of the sculptures would be considered in Autumn this year. 

Simasius also stressed the sculptures are subject to legal protection due to their position on the Register of Cultural Values.

After 63 years on the Green Bridge in central Vilnius, the four sets of sculptures were removed on July 18/19.

An expert board concluded they were in a critical state of dilapidation, and presented a health and safety threat to passers-by.

The four groups of sculptures portrayed Red Army soldiers, plus Soviet workers, farmers and students.

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