RIGA, August 28 (RIA Novosti)
The Russian Community of Latvia has accused Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks of speaking in favor of destroying a Riga monument to Soviet soldiers to serve his own political ends.
Pabriks told the Latvian press on Monday that the monument, dedicated to the Soviet soldiers who liberated Latvia from the Nazis during the Second World War, “deserves demolition.” The Russian civic organization accused him of exploiting the matter for his mayoral ambitions in local elections next year.
“We are outraged by this statement. The question regarding the monument is a sensitive one, and before one makes such a statement, it would be nice to know the opinion of Riga's citizens on this topic,” said RCL board member Igor Vatolin. He added: “Pabriks’ statement is probably political self-promotion.”
Historical memory in Latvia is a thorny topic. Latvia insists the Soviet Union forcibly occupied it from 1940 until 1991, and has come under criticism from Moscow for its parades in which veterans that fought with the Nazis against Soviet forces march through Riga.
The mayor of Riga, Nil Ushakov, is the city's first ethnic Russian mayor. He was elected in 2009 and enjoys an approval rating of more than 70 percent, according to opinion polls.
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
New ties between Russia and Japan would mark not only a breakthrough in their relations but also a significant shift in Northeast Asia’s political dynamic. Both are secondary players in a region overshadowed by an increasingly assertive China, which has not hesitated to push against the boundaries of its neighbors.