The Socialist Party of Latvia (LSP) has registered strong protest against the desecration of a Soviet monument in Jekabpils after it was vandalized on February 24. Vandals also removed a cannon placed over the monument. The LSP has demanded the law enforcement agencies to conduct a sincere investigation and punish the perpetrators.
The monument at Jekabpils was installed on the grave of three Soviet soldiers – Sergei Petrovich Kupriyanov, Gavriil Kupriyanovich Sharikalov and Sakhabutdin Galyautdinovich Gaziyev – who died in combat during World War II. Following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, right-wing sections in Latvia have demanded the relocation of the monument from the park. However, Latvia and the Russian Federation have signed a treaty for the maintenance of graves and memorials of soldiers who died during World War II.
A day before it was vandalized, local people laid flowers on the monument to commemorate the 103rd anniversary of the foundation of the Red Army.
Social activist and Jekabpils resident Lydia Kuzminichna Anosova told mklat.lv on February 24, “Yesterday, on the occasion of the holiday – the day of the Red Army – we laid flowers at the memorial where the monument-cannon was erected, And this morning we found that the monument was destroyed. The flowers laid yesterday are scattered, the pedestal is destroyed, traces of a tractor are visible.”
The LSP has stated that this act of vandalism is an open provocation to defile the memory of the fighters against fascism. The LSP called on law enforcement agencies to investigate and punish those guilty and urged people to honor and respect the memory of the liberators of Latvia from the German fascist occupants.
Attacks on Red Army monuments have become more widespread these days in the post-Soviet republic and East European countries. Neo-nazi, Russophobic groups lead the attacks in most of the cases. In countries with far-right, anti-communist governments, de-communization laws are also in place to demolish Soviet era monuments. In 2019, a controversial European parliament resolution, which equated communism with Nazism, also called for the erasure of all memorials of “totalitarianism” across Europe, including memorials dedicated to the Red Army.