Riga considering letting NATO troops blow up Wwii memorial

Riga considering letting NATO troops blow up Wwii memorial

Latvia is looking for ways to reduce the costs of demolishing the massive structure in Riga.

The Latvian capital's vice mayor, Vilnis Kirsis, said on Friday that the authorities in Riga are considering a number of options including the most extreme ones 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 circulated 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, officially known as the Monument to the Liberators of Soviet Latvia and Riga from the German Fascist Invaders, is to be demolished by November 15. The exact cost of the demolition works has not yet been established, but estimates reach up to a massive €2 million, and the Riga authorities are already trying to pare down expenses.

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 military operation launched by Russia against Ukraine in late February renewed 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. The ban on commemorating the Soviet victory caused thousands of people to come to the monument to lay flowers, which were bulldozed away shortly after. The next day, more flowers were returned to the site.

Several days later on May 13, Latvia s parliament voted to renounce a part of a treaty with Russia in which Latvia pledged to protect and maintain war memorials in the country. The city legislature of Riga approved the demolition of the controversial monument the next day.