Riga mayor against restoration of Soviet-era monument
22:01 | 15/ 12/ 2008
RIGA, December 15 (RIA Novosti) - The mayor of Riga, the capital of Latvia, said on Monday that he emphatically opposes the restoration of a WWII Soviet-era monument which was damaged in the 1990s.
A memorial plaque was stolen in the 1990s from the monument to Soviet soldiers who died liberating Latvia from the Nazis during WWII. Work to restore the monument was planned to be completed by the end of this year.
"Renewing the memorial plaque would be like spitting in the faces of thousands of Latvians, who suffered during the Soviet regime," Janis Birks said.
Russia has repeatedly condemned the practice in the former Soviet republics of Latvia and Estonia of honoring SS veterans who fought for Nazi Germany during WWII.
Parades in honor of Waffen-SS veterans, involving veterans from the Latvian Legion and the 20th Estonian SS Division and their supporters, are held annually in Latvia and Estonia.
The dismantling in Tallinn, capital of Estonia, of the Soviet war memorial, the Bronze Soldier, just before the May 9, 2007 Victory Day celebrations in Russia led to street protests in which over 1,000 people were arrested and one Russian national was killed.
Relations between Russia and Latvia and Estonia have also been strained over what Moscow calls the two states' unequal treatment of ethnic Russians, the alleged persecution of Soviet WWII veterans, and the apparent revival of nationalism and fascism.ANTIFAŠISTIMA RUŠE A FAŠISTIMA GRADE SPOMENIKE PO EUROPI ,ZAŠTO NAM TO RADE?Crying