33 Rīga councilors voted to dismantle the monument, while 15 voted against it.
The monument will be moved to the warehouse of Riga Monuments Agency on Varoņu Street 13, Rīga, by November 8 this year.
“Moving the monument to a warehouse saves the work of sculptor Lev Bukovsky while also removing an ideological statue from the city's spatial environment,” the RD said in a statement.
During the Soviet period, Mstislav Keldysh was awarded the title of Socialist Labor Hero for special merit in the development of science and technology, the creation and successful launch of the spaceship Vostok. Keldysh's greatest achievements in the USSR military complex are working on nuclear weapons.
The monument to Keldysh was installed at the request of Moscow on April 28, 1978. The academic died on June 24 that year. Keldysh's bronze awards were once attached to the right side of the monument, but they were lost in the nineties.
Keldysh's only connection with Latvia is that on February 10, 1911 he was born in Rīga to a Russian engineer's family and lived in Rīga for a few years until 1915. Keldysh spent the rest of his life in Russia.
On Wednesday, October 18, a small number of people who objected to the relocation of the monument were picketing outside Riga City Council. One of the organizers of the picket was Riga City Council deputy Miroslavs Mitrofanovs (Latvian Russian Union), who emphasized that the planned relocation is not relocation, but “essentially dismantling and storage of residues on the outskirts of the forest behind the crematorium.”
According to him, “we could talk about moving to some prepared public place in the city where the monument would stand on its foundations rather than lying on the sand with its face on the ground.”
Until very recently, the capital also had a Mstislav Keldysh Street, which was renamed after Latvian writers brothers Kaudzītes less than a year ago.
This is not the first monument to be relocated in Riga. In May this year, Riga Monuments Agency moved a sculpture of Russian poet Alexander Pushkin from Kronvalda Park to a warehouse in order to later transfer it to possession of it to the Latvian Artists Union. After the Riga Monuments Council vote, the monument to writer Anna Sakse has also been dismantled. There have also been discussions about moving the monument of writer Andrejs Upītis.
Liberation from Soviet-era heritage across Latvia actively resumed following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Several dozen objects dedicated to the Soviet army have been dismantled and many streets have been renamed.