MOSCOW, 5 Oct – Embassy of the Russian Federation in Lithuania condemned an act of vandalism at the memorial to Soviet soldiers at the Antakalnis cemetery in Vilnius, called on the authorities of the Lithuanian capital to bring the perpetrators to justice and commented on the intention of the government to demolish the memorial.
The Vilnius City Hall on Wednesday voted to transfer the largest memorial to Soviet soldiers in Lithuania at the Antakalnis cemetery in Vilnius to city ownership, which will allow it to be dismantled. The city council also agreed with the proposal to hang it up for the period before the demolition of the memorial in order to avoid vandalism. The memorial has been repeatedly desecrated, the last time vandals wrote an obscene word on it on the voting day on Wednesday.
Demolition of the monument was planned to be completed by November 1, 2022. In early October, the UN Human Rights Committee notified the Lithuanian authorities that it placed monuments to Soviet soldiers under its temporary protection until further clarification and called for them to refrain from further dismantling. Lithuanian Justice Minister Evelina Dobrovolska said Lithuania would appeal the UN decision because the committee, she said, “was misled.” According to the mayor of Vilnius Remigius Simasius, the demolition of the memorial to Soviet soldiers at the cemetery in Vilnius is postponed until November.
“We paid attention to the latest statements of Vilnius Mayor Remigius Simasius on this matter. He does not hide his irritation at the recommendation of the UN Human Rights Committee not to dismantle the monument. However, the Government of Lithuania reminded him in time of such concepts as “rules and law,” the embassy noted.
According to the diplomatic mission, “the position of the mayor and the ‘so timely’ inscriptions that appeared at the scene of the crime suggest that at least the leadership of the mayor’s office was the ideological inspirer of this barbaric action.”
“If you nevertheless realize your evil intentions, we are sure that in the memory of both the Lithuanian and other peoples whose representatives lie under this monument, you will deserve only contempt and hatred,” the embassy added.
In June, the Vilnius City Council decided to demolish the memorial to Soviet soldiers at the Antakalnis cemetery, where the country’s largest burial place for the liberators of Lithuania is located. The Russian Embassy in Lithuania called this decision “blasphemous and barbaric.” In May, the mayor of Vilnius, Remigius Simasius, announced that he would initiate the exclusion of six monuments to Soviet soldiers in the capital’s cemetery from the register of cultural heritage for their subsequent demolition.
At the Military Memorial on Antakalnis, created in 1951, more than three thousand soldiers of the 3rd Belorussian Front, who fell in the summer of 1944 in the battles for the liberation of Vilnius, are buried. In total, more than 80 thousand Soviet soldiers who gave their lives in the fight against fascism are buried in the Baltic Republic.