New law could make it mandatory for municipalities to dismantle all sites and objects “glorifying the Soviet regime”
Saeima in Latvia’s parliament is hoping to adopt a new law which would force the destruction of all buildings and objects. “glorifying the Soviet and Nazi Regime”The country’s territory. On Wednesday, the bill passed the first reading of the Saeima and will likely be approved by June 16. It will require local governments to remove any Soviet monuments from their territory within the stipulated deadline of November 15 2022.
Under the proposed law, relevant local governments will be entitled to propose dismantling monuments regardless of the site’s ownership and without coordination with the legal owner of the object or the land on which it is located.
The bill’s text also estimates that there are currently around 300 monuments, memorial plates, and memorial sites dedicated to the Soviet Union that exist in Latvia, and calls for the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers to draw up a list of objects that are to be dismantled by the end of July 2022.
The new law also applies to the ‘Monument to the Liberators of Soviet Latvia and Riga from the German Fascist Invaders’ which was erected in 1985 in the Latvian capital to commemorate the Soviet Army’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II.
The treaty between Latvia and Russia on preservation of monuments used to cover the monument. However, that agreement was dissolved earlier this month by the Latvian parliament, citing Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Although the move was supported by an overwhelming majority of lawmakers, it sparked outrage among Lativa’s pro-Russian population, as hundreds of people gathered outside Riga’s town hall on May 13 to protest the decision.
Many people including members of Latvian Russian Union were taken into custody during the demonstrations. “petty hooliganism.”
The dismantling of the Riga monument could reportedly cost up to €2 million, according to the city’s vice mayor, who said that the project is already being prepared and construction companies were being approached.
Latvian officials have however noted that monuments in cemeteries or memorials to Soviet and Nazi victims are not included under the law regarding the destruction of Soviet monuments.