Soviet monument in Riga demolished – n-tv.de
With loud cheers
Riga razes Soviet colossus to the ground
It was a relic from the Soviet past: the gigantic Victory Monument in Riga. The Latvians are now grinding this colossus to loud cheers. The Russian embassy is outraged and condemns the demolition as “treacherous and unjustified”.
In Latvia, the Soviet victory monument in the capital Riga has been demolished. On the orders of the city authorities, two excavators with pneumatic hammers brought down the 79 meter high obelisk with the Soviet star on top. At 4:42 p.m. sharp local time, after hours of work, the huge concrete column fell to the ground with a big bang – to the applause of numerous onlookers. Before that, the meter-high bronze statues had already been removed in the days before with heavy equipment.
In Latvia, all objects that glorify totalitarian regimes must be dismantled by November 15, following a parliamentary decision taken in response to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The regulation specifically targets the demolition of the Soviet Victory Monument. “This monument was a constant reminder of our occupation, the fate of many people associated with it – deportations, repressions and so on. We don’t need such a monument,” said President Egils Levits on Latvian television, which broadcast the demolition in a live stream. Riga Mayor Martin Stakis spoke of a “historic moment for Riga and all of Latvia” after the demolition.
The monument was erected in 1985 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Hitler’s Germany in World War II – as a “monument to the liberators of Soviet Latvia and Riga from the German-fascist invaders”. Latvia was alternately occupied by Germany and the Soviet Union during World War II. After the end of the war, the Baltic state was an involuntary part of the Soviet Union until 1991.
The monumental monument was protected under a 1994 treaty between Latvia and the Russian Federation. In May, the Latvian parliament voted to amend this agreement, stripping the monument of its protected status. The Russian embassy in Riga condemned the action as “treacherous and unjustified”.