Despite UN statement: Lithuania dismantles another monument to Soviet soldiers

Lithuania continues to tear down Soviet soldiers’ memorials. This time it’s about one at the country’s largest military cemetery in the capital, Vilnius. City authorities plan to start dismantling on Thursday – despite a UN recommendation.

In Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, the demolition of the monument to Soviet soldiers in the country’s largest military cemetery will begin in the coming days. Remigijus Šimašius, the city’s mayor, announced on Tuesday that work was planned to start on Thursday. If the government of the capital, which the mayor has yet to officially inform about the plans, does not block the process, the work will be completed in three weeks.

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The Soviet Soldiers’ Monument in Vilnius is located in the Antakalnis Cemetery. It consists of burial places of fallen Soviet soldiers and six stelae. They were erected in 1984, each depicting Soviet soldiers of different branches.

The city authorities had already made the decision to demolish the six steles in June and planned to have the work completed by November 1st. The UN Human Rights Committee recommended that Lithuania temporarily refrain from demolishing the monument. If the international organization decided that the monument in Vilnius should be considered an object of Russian culture, dismantling would be banned permanently. Despite Lithuania’s appeal to review the recommendation, it remains in force so far.

On Tuesday, the deputy mayor of the capital, Valdas Benkunskas, said the UN’s opinion on the matter was irrelevant. For its part, the Russian embassy in Lithuania stressed that the actions of Vilnius on monuments to Soviet soldiers demonstrate the country’s compliance with international law.

More on the subject – Estonia creates legal basis for monument demolition

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