Latvia plans to reclaim 'Moscow House' and give it to Ukraine

The Saeima will advance a law on the acquisition of the so-called Moscow House building in Riga, Marijas Street 7, into state ownership for approval in January. If this happens, the building is intended to be used to assist Ukraine or to be given to Ukraine, Latvian Radio reported on December 12.

The “Moscow House” was unveiled in the capital of Latvia at the end of May 2004. In honor of this event, Moscow Days took place and the then Mayor of the Russian capital Yuri Luzhkov arrived in Riga. Gundars Bojārs, the then-mayor of Rīga, took part in the events.

Following Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Latvian Ministry of Justice decided to freeze the assets of the “Moscow House.” Later, there were suggestions by some politicians to nationalize the property, but these plans have not yet been implemented.

The information provided by the State Security Service shows that the so-called Moscow House has been used as a support point for various Russian-implemented anti-Latvian measures.

Supporters of Russian aggression have also been active in Moscow's house after Russia's war against Ukraine. Therefore, Latvia has a duty to take action against the existence of a support site for such activities, as read in the explanatory memorandum to the draft law directed by the Saeima National Security Commission. The takeover of this building will allow the discontinuation of political activities undermining Latvia's national security under the guise of cultural events and interest education, the Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Justice Lauma Paegļkalna also emphasized.

Moscow House property rights have been secured in the name of the Moscow City Property Department. Moscow House's legal representation is linked to Moscow City Council, whose leadership is subject to international sanctions.

The possibility of the building being taken over is open because this building does not have consular protection. The building is on a parcel of land owned by the Ministry of Transport, and the bill envisages creating a single real estate with land and a building.

After the enactment of the law, the building will have to be freed from the belongings there, as well as various organizations, such as the Russian Billiards Federation, the Russian Society in Latvia, and others, will have to be re-registered elsewhere.

The draft law stipulates that the government must submit a report to the Saeima by March 31 next year on the further handling of real estate on Marijas Street 7.

The building is intended to be used to provide assistance to Ukraine or Ukrainians. It is especially stressed that Latvia has no intention of obtaining any material benefit from this real estate.

When taking over the building, the State budget might have to cover 36,000 euros of debt, including land rent and real estate tax. The cost of maintaining the building is estimated at EUR 400,000 per year.

Changes to the law are also supported by the State Security Service and the Constitution Protection Bureau.

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