Latvia knocks down Soviet-era central memorial – ‘closes a page of painful history’ | World News

A concrete column in the Latvian capital that has been controversial for years has been taken down as onlookers cheered and applauded.

The memorial – the centerpiece of the monument marking the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany, which occupied the Baltic states during World War II – was built in 1985 when Latvia was still part of the Soviet Union.

What the monument used to look like.  Photo: AP
What the monument used to look like. Photo: AP

The structure is made up of five spiers with three Soviet stars at the top, located between two groups of statues – a band of three Red Army soldiers and a woman representing the “Fatherland” stretching out her arms. are not.

It was nearly 80 meters (262ft) tall in central Riga before toppling over and crashing into a nearby pond in the city’s Victory Park.

Heavy machinery was seen behind a green fence before its removal. The previous statues were taken away.

Concrete tower taken down
Concrete structure has been taken down in Riga

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics tweeted: “Latvia has taken down one of the symbols of the Soviet occupation in Riga. Closing another painful page of history and looking for a better future.”

The memorial has been controversial since Latvia regained its independence in 1991 and eventually became part of NATO and also a member of the European Union.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February prompted the governments of several Eastern European countries to speed up the process of removing their former communist symbols.

Photo: AP

The Latvian parliament voted to demolish the monument in May, and the Riga City Council followed suit.

Ethnic Russians make up about 25% of Latvia’s population.

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