Latvian minister resigns over recent Riga Soviet monument controversy

Latvian Minister of the Interior Marija Gobuleva. September 2021.
Latvian Minister of the Interior Marija Gobuleva. September 2021. Source: Latvian Ministry of the Interior/Flickr

Latvian Minister of the Interior Marija Golubeva resigned on Monday in response to criticism over the way things were handled in connection with a prominent Soviet monument in Riga on May 9-10 and an ultimatum from a member of the four-party ruling coalition.

Golubeva (For Development) said she had learned that Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) had bowed to an ultimatum from the National Alliance, one of the other parties in the four-party ruling coalition, who indicated that unless she was dismissed, it would leave the coalition, less than five months ahead of Saeima elections in October, Latvian public broadcaster LSM reported.

Despite heavy law enforcement presence around the Soviet memorial in Riga's Victory Park (Uzvaras parks), the handling of crowds, flowers brought to the memorial and the display of pro-Russian symbols and flags on May 9, celebrated in Russia and communities elsewhere as Victory Day, and May 10 drew significant criticism.

On the morning of May 10, flowers laid at the monument by people the previous day were removed according to plan, which led an increasing number of people to return to the monument and park, which is located on the left bank of the Daugava River. By evening, several hundred people had gathered at the park, some of whom were aggressive and did not hide their support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Latvian Television (LTV) reported. Access to the monument was closed.

A day after receiving the greenlight from the Saeima, Riga City Council on May 13 ordered demolition of the Soviet monument to move forward.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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