RIGA, October 21 (Itar-Tass) - The first Russian mayor of Riga, Nil Ushakov, believes that the collection of signatures for the demolition of the monument to the Soviet soldiers-liberators of Riga is a provocation by extremists and has promised not to let that happen. He made this statement on Sunday night.
“This is a provocation by extremists who can only exist by means of ethnic strife. Since there is nothing else they can do. So what can you expect from them? Surely, not economic development plans,” Ushakov said in a statement, following reports about the collection of signatures on the Internet for the demolition of the memorial to the Soviet soldiers-liberators of Riga.
Ushakov also urged the local residents to ignore such initiatives. “The worst thing for these extremists is when they are ignored. So I advise everyone to do so - just disregard them. Well, you don’t enter into a dispute, for example, with a crazy person in the street, do you? But on the other hand, as the mayor of Riga, I can guarantee that not a single monument will be demolished in Riga,” he said.
An Internet portal in Latvia has collected more than 10 thousand signatures for the demolition of the monument to Soviet soldiers-liberators of Riga. According to Latvian legislation, an initiative for which at least 10 thousand signatures of adult citizens of the country have been collected, has the status of a “collective statement” and shall be considered by the Saeima (Parliament).
May 9 is not an official holiday in Latvia, but many - first of all Russian-speaking residents of the country, who make up about 40 percent of the republic’s population - celebrate Victory Day. About 200 thousand people gather every year on this day in Riga at the monument to the Soviet soldiers-liberators to lay flowers at its pedestal and congratulate the WW2 veterans.