President Levits' statement on fate of Soviet memorial

The monument at Uzvaras Park in Rīga has to be dismantled, the Latvian President Egils Levits said in a statement on May 15.

“In the last few weeks, the future fate of the object left by the Soviet Russians in Pardaugava has been decided. I would like to emphasize that what symbols of history we want to preserve and what we don't, what we want to create in Latvia's common memory space, is only our own society's decision,” Levits said.

The president said that the object in Pārdaugava was not a simple testimony of history: “It has always been a symbol of Soviet occupation. The Red Army here exiled Nazi Germany's occupying troops and at the same time established the Soviet occupation regime. It lasted another 45 years and claimed tens of thousands of innocent victims. We had not invited either one or the other occupants.”

The president stressed that in a democratic society there was no place for the public manifestation of the imperialist “Russian world” ideology and the glorification of war crimes.

“For Latvians, Latvian patriots of all nationalities, the object left by Soviet patriots in Pardaugava is a blatant symbol of the occupation of Latvia and Putin's Russian military aggression against neighboring countries. It embodies contempt for European values and the foundations of our country. There is no pride in war criminals in a democratic society. They are prosecuted and condemned. This is why this Kremlin propaganda facility needs to be dismantled. Therefore, the Riga City Council's decision to dismantle it is correct,” Levits said.

"The toxic radiation of this facility exceeds the scale of one municipality. Therefore, it would be important for the Saeima to decide on its dismantling, by removing all bureaucratic obstacles to the execution of the Riga City Council decision by a separate law. All those involved – the Riga City Council, the Saeima and also the government – have to act in a coordinated, decisive and joint way," said the president.

 

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