The City Council of Riga, the capital of Latvia, has given the order to demolish the monument to the famous 19th-century Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, which was installed in 2009. The majority coalition approved the measure without offering further details on the matter, the national broadcaster reported. The initiative’s promoters allege that Russia could use the statue as a tool of “soft force,” so they seek to prevent it from becoming a rallying point for neighbors on May 9 on the occasion of Victory Day, a holiday that has been banned.
The decision has generated controversy among the population, and in mid-March, some 200 people demonstrated against the demolition of the monument in Riga’s city center. On the other hand, the figure of Pushkin has been the subject of disputes in other countries in the Baltic region, which accuse Russia of trying to use the figure of the poet as a means to exert influence in the area.
The Pushkin monument, located in the historic center of Riga, is a three-meter-high bronze statue and was unveiled on the 210th anniversary of the poet’s birth. Pushkin, considered one of the great masters of Russian literature, is widely admired in the Baltic countries, although some activists accuse them of having been complacent about the Soviet invasion in 1940.
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