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The mayor of Daugavpils proposed to spend Latvia’s money not on the demolition of Soviet monuments

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Mayor of Daugavpils Andrey Elksninsh (“Consent”) does not exclude the possibility of challenging the law on the dismantling of monuments to Soviet soldiers in the Constitutional Court. Elksniņš told LETA that the state has not provided funds for local governments for this purpose.

According to Elksniņš, the Saeima adopted a very “unprofessional law”. He recalled that the legislation on local governments states that if the state imposes on the municipalities the obligation to perform any function, state funding must also be provided for this. “In this case, this did not happen, and thus the 1st and 101st articles of the constitution are violated,” the mayor of Daugavpils said.

Article 1 of the constitution states that “Latvia is an independent democratic republic”, and Article 101 states that “every citizen of Latvia has the right to participate in the activities of the state and local governments in accordance with the procedure established by law, as well as to serve in the civil service.” Elksniņš believes that the parliament’s decision on Soviet monuments violates the autonomy of local governments.

“Our budget does not include such expenses. But the parliament is not interested at all,” the mayor complained.

Now, as he said, self-management of Daugavpils expects from Cabinet the list of monuments which need to be demolished. The municipality will also independently analyze which objects fall under the requirements of the new law.

“I do not rule out that a discussion may be raised in the Constitutional Court, because the law is controversial in general,” Elksnins said.

He considers it more expedient to allocate funds “to help the residents of Daugavpils, who will have to endure the most difficult heating season, and not throw them into the furnace of the insane election campaign of the parties of the ruling coalition.”

It has already been reported that this week the Latvian Saeima adopted in its final reading the law “On the prohibition of exhibiting objects glorifying the Soviet and Nazi regimes and their dismantling on the territory of the Republic of Latvia”. The new law stipulates that Soviet military monuments are to be dismantled by November 15th.

Dismantling will be the responsibility of the municipality on whose territory the object is located. It is planned that the dismantling will be financed primarily from funds donated by individuals and legal entities, if any. The remaining necessary funds will be allocated in equal proportions from the state and local government budgets.

Meanwhile, the self-government of Riga has not yet disclosed the methods and timing of the dismantling of the monument to Soviet soldiers in Zadvinye. Yesterday a meeting of the self-government working group took place, at which actions on this issue were discussed – both the methods of dismantling and the timing. The municipality emphasized that since this is a “national security issue”, the municipality does not provide more detailed information.

“Yesterday the Saeima approved a draft law banning the display in Latvia of objects glorifying the Soviet and Nazi regimes. They provide for the dismantling of the Soviet monument in Victory Park by November 15. The date was known earlier, so the Riga municipality has already started work on preparations for the dismantling and consultations with the responsible institutions and the companies involved,” notes the Executive Director of the City of Riga Janis Lange.

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