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Lithuania: Removal of Soviet statues from Vilnius' Green Bridge raises concerns01:00

Lithuania: Removal of Soviet statues from Vilnius' Green Bridge raises concerns

Lithuania, Vilnius
July 19, 2015 at 17:44 GMT -00:00 · Published

The preparatory works for the removal of four Soviet-era statues from the iconic Green Bridge in the Vilnius got underway on Sunday, amidst heavy criticism from many in the Lithuanian capital. Although the city council has stated that the badly corroded statues are being taken away for restoration, there have been reports that the Soviet monuments will not be returned, sparking concern that the statues' removal is a politically motivated move.

Lithuania's Cultural Heritage Department approved the take down of four sculptures, after highlighting the poor condition of the monuments. The bronze monoliths, each weighing several tones, were built in 1952 under Soviet rule. The four statutes depict Soviet students, farmers, workers, and soldiers, given the respective titles of 'Youth of Education,' 'Agriculture,' 'Industry and Construction' and 'On the Guard of Peace.'

The removal of the statues has faced a fierce backlash from many, particularly in Lithuania's Russian speaking community, who have accused the city council of erasing the capital's history and promoting an anti-Russian agenda. The controversy harks back to Estonia in 2007, when authorities in the capital of Tallinn removed a memorial statue to the Red Army, prompting two nights of riots. Deputy Mayor of Vilnius Gintautas Paluckas has dismissed the comparisons, saying Russians in Vilnius aren't like those in Estonia, but admitted that provocations may occur once the statues are removed.

Lithuania: Removal of Soviet statues from Vilnius' Green Bridge raises concerns01:00
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Description

The preparatory works for the removal of four Soviet-era statues from the iconic Green Bridge in the Vilnius got underway on Sunday, amidst heavy criticism from many in the Lithuanian capital. Although the city council has stated that the badly corroded statues are being taken away for restoration, there have been reports that the Soviet monuments will not be returned, sparking concern that the statues' removal is a politically motivated move.

Lithuania's Cultural Heritage Department approved the take down of four sculptures, after highlighting the poor condition of the monuments. The bronze monoliths, each weighing several tones, were built in 1952 under Soviet rule. The four statutes depict Soviet students, farmers, workers, and soldiers, given the respective titles of 'Youth of Education,' 'Agriculture,' 'Industry and Construction' and 'On the Guard of Peace.'

The removal of the statues has faced a fierce backlash from many, particularly in Lithuania's Russian speaking community, who have accused the city council of erasing the capital's history and promoting an anti-Russian agenda. The controversy harks back to Estonia in 2007, when authorities in the capital of Tallinn removed a memorial statue to the Red Army, prompting two nights of riots. Deputy Mayor of Vilnius Gintautas Paluckas has dismissed the comparisons, saying Russians in Vilnius aren't like those in Estonia, but admitted that provocations may occur once the statues are removed.

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