Debate ongoing about future of former 'Moscow House' in Rīga

The so-called “Moscow House” in Rīga went into state ownership in late January, and previous landlords and tenants have left the premises. Soon, the Cabinet of Ministers should decide on the future fate of the property, Latvian Television's De Facto reported on February 4.

“Moscow House” in Riga is currently empty and quiet. Two weeks ago, the law to convert the building to state ownership came into force. A week ago, the building was rewritten to the name of the Ministry of Transport, which so far owned the land underneath. Previous landlords and tenants were given seven days to remove their belongings. Everything left in the building is now officially landless possession and belongs to the state.

The new owner of the building - the Ministry of Transport - is due to put proposals to do with the house on the table in the coming months.

“At the current moment, an informative report is already emerging for submission to the Cabinet. With several options that could be done with this building. What the decision will be, I cannot comment at this time, but the options are either to lease or sell,“ said Ligita Austrupe, acting secretary of state at the Ministry.

The head of the Saeima National Security Committee Ainārs Latkovskis (New Unity) believes the only way now is to sell the property and return the money to Ukraine.

“The purpose of the draft law is not to benefit the state of Latvia. In my view, no cultural institutions, no museums, nothing like that. Ukraine needs to get something out of this. Our gain has already happened – Russia's propaganda brood is no longer here,“ Latkovskis said.

The Ministry of Transport notes that the decision on the further use of the so-called “Moscow House” will have to be made by the Cabinet of Ministers.

On the night of Friday, the letters of the inscription “Moscow House” were removed. This was done once last summer, but after the change of management in the building management company, the letters were replaced. Now the inscription should be gone forever.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Justice said that the takeover of other Russian and Belarusian properties subject to sanctions is not as straightforward.

The takeover of the “Moscow House” took place to stop national security-threatening activities under the guise of cultural events, the Justice Ministry explained. In contrast, Russian and Belarusian sanatoriums located in Jūrmala, “Jantarnij bereg” and “Belorussia” are not currently engaged in any economic activity and the conduct of anti-state measures has not been identified, the Ministry of Justice noted. To take over an object in public ownership, a strict legal justification is necessary, the Ministry said.

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