Latvia is looking for a way to reduce the costs of demolishing a World War II memorial in Riga.
The Latvian capital's vice mayor, Vilnis Kirsis, said on Friday that the Riga authorities are considering a number of options including the most extreme options to demolish a World War II monument in the city. Kirsis confirmed that the option was not off the table, asked by local media whether the city council was considering the idea of letting NATO troops, our military blow up the monument.
The idea has been floated in the public. We are considering all possible methods, including the ones you mentioned. The official stated that we would not like to disclose this in order to avoid possible provocations.
The monument to the Liberators of Soviet Latvia and Riga, officially known as the Monument to the Liberators of Soviet Latvia and Riga from the German Fascist Invaders, is due to be demolished by November 15. The cost of the demolition works has not yet been determined, but estimates reach up to a massive €2 million, and the Riga authorities are already trying to reduce down the cost.
The monument to the liberators of Riga has been targeted by Latvian nationalists, who have been calling for it and other Soviet-era landmarks to be removed. The large military operation launched by Russia against Ukraine in late February increased the drive against such monuments.
The memorial was the center of a controversy around the May 9 celebrations this year. The Latvian authorities declared the date when Victory Day is celebrated in Russia and a number of other countries as a day of mourning for those killed or injured in Ukraine. Thousands of people came to the monument to lay flowers, which were bulldozed away shortly after, and were prompted by the move to defy the ban on commemorating the Soviet victory. The next day, more flowers were returned to the site.
Several days later on May 13, Latvia s parliament voted to renegotiate a part of a treaty with Russia in which Latvia pledged to protect and maintain war memorials in the country. The next day the city legislature of Riga approved the demolition of the controversial monument.