Mayor announces big double bill for Soviet Victory Day

“I’d like to brag a bit,” posted Riga Mayor Nils Ušakovs on his Facebook profile Tuesday, announcing the booking of Serbian filmmaker Emir Kusturica and Russian rockers DDT to perform at a Riga city council-sponsored Soviet Victory Day celebration party on May 9.

While Kusturica is known for his iconoclastic pan-Slavism, and at a concert with his No Smoking Orchestra in Riga some years ago launched proceedings with a rendeering of the Soviet national anthem. 

In contrast, DDT’s leader Yuri Shevchuk has been named along with murdered politician Boris Nemtsov as a ‘fifth-column’ traitor to Putin’s Russia.

Ušakovs promised that each act would be preparing a special show for Riga residents. There will be war-era songs plus the performing artists’ own original numbers.

"I want to add that all these years the celebration event has been organized strictly and exclusively with Latvia’s own resources. The activists of 9maijs.lv have been collecting targeted donations in significant amounts for the traditional two-day marathon of events by the Victory Monument to the liberators,” the mayor said.

Gribas nedaudz palielīties – šogad 9.maijā par godu Uzvaras 70.gadadienai rīdziniekus gaida īpašs svētku koncerts. ...

Posted by Nils Ušakovs on Tuesday, April 21, 2015

He was at pains to clarify that donations to support veterans are a completely separate campaign and spent only on the declared goals of helping the retired soldiers in their old age.

May 9 is a divisive day in Latvia. To the Russian population it is a chance to mark victory over Nazi Germany and attend the main memorial event in Victory Park in their tens of thousands.

Many Latvians see little to celebrate as Soviet occupation and oppression of the country was to continue for another half century.

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