Rēzekne mayor speaks out on pro-Soviet monuments

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Rēzekne Mayor Aleksandrs Bartaševičs (Harmony party), in a video recording published on Facebook on the portal “Gorod.lv” in Russian, expressed his views on the monuments and the war in Ukraine.

Standing at the monument due to be dismantled in Rēzekne, he stated that he was standing by the monument of “Rēzekne's liberators from the fascist occupation”. According to Bartaševičs, the Russians are currently under very strong pressure in Latvia only because “they are Russians”.

“Some do everything to make our children forget their mother tongue, depriving them of the opportunity to learn it at school,” said Bartaševičs. “I am speaking in Russian because the Russians in Latvia need rehabilitation. We, the Russians of Latvia, are not guilty of what is happening in Ukraine and are deeply affected by the victims of this war, where Slavs die on both sides of the [front]. This is a tragedy for all of us, we want peace for both Ukraine and Russia as soon as possible,” he said.

Bartaševics described the dismantling of the monuments as “barbarism” and said he had sought a compromise with the government to move the monument known as 'Alyosha' to the cemetery, but the government had rejected these solutions.

He said he was concerned about the “divide in society” that, in his view, is growing very fast and said he can't stop the “blasphemy” toward monuments.

The Rēzekne mayor also asked his supporters not to provoke the police and behave with respect during the demolition of the monument.

Recently, the mayor of Daugavpils, Andrejs Elksniņš also came under scrutiny for publicly expressing the opinion that "Crimea belongs to Russia". 

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