A remote-controlbomb on June 6 severely damaged part of a Soviet-era monumentin Riga. Two Russian Foreign Ministry statements demanded identificationand punishment of the perpetrators; cited bilateral agreementsrequiring Latvia to care for Soviet military memorials in thecountry; and warned that Latvia’s handling of the incident willbe judged as a test of the country’s willingness to improve relationswith Russia.
Local Russian leftists and Red Army veterans residing in Rigarally at the monument to mark Soviet anniversaries. Parts weredefaced earlier this year by citizens who want it removed since,they stress, the Red Army’s capture of the city in 1944 markedthe occupation of their country by the USSR. (Itar-Tass, BNS,June 6-7) Riga’s city hall and the Latvian government, anxiousnot to irritate Moscow, oppose removal. However, the memorial’sretention may ultimately prove even more of an irritant to relationsbetween the two countries.
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