VICTORY MEMORIAL TO SOVIET ARMY
Location: N56° 56` 6.54", E24° 4` 57.12"
Today’s Victory park location on the left coast of Daugava by Mārupīte since the 17th century was the part of Riga fortification system. According to the military rules who were active here until 1908 the territory of the esplanade was forbidden to be covered with buildings and so at the beginning of the 20th century city received an opportunity to create a park available for society here, which similarly was previously happening with the zone of the former Riga fortress. The creation of the park was not completed by the WW I, but after the war in 1919 a family garden colony was created on the place which was meant for mansion sites. In 1923 the Peter Park was renamed to Victory Park “in memory of liberation of Latvia” and in 1930 led by Riga city Garden administration Principal Andrejs Zeidaks an improvement of the park was started on previously set borders. With help of donations and lotteries until January of 1940 more than eight million lats were collected for creation of the Victory square, but the plans of square construction were interrupted by Soviet occupation.
Seven German army generals received a death penalty by being hanged here on 3rd of February, 1946 just after the war. Between them were also Friedrich Jeckeln who was the commander of SS and police forces in Ostland. The idea about the monument of Victory was born in 1975 in context of the memorial campaigns for the Patriotic war led Soviet Union. In 1985 during the 40.anniversary of the WW II a monument was installed in Victory Park – allegoric memorial ensemble. A 79m high obelisk is in its centre formed by five different high sides crowned with five-pointed stars. It symbolises five years of war and the victory fireworks. Numbers “1941-1945” have been engraved on pedestal of the obelisk. The group of bronze soldiers are expressing joy for the victory, but the allegory of a woman dressed in a cape similar to the victory goddess Nike has been interpreted as the native country – mother. Because of the ideological censure the initial idea of the sculptor Aivars Gulbis was no realised – to create a human image of a mother carrying a child on her hands.
The attempt to blow up the obelisk of the Victory monument in March and June of 1997 by members of “Pērkoņkrusts” organization again got attention not only to the object but also to what did this monument actually symbolise. The suggestion to demolish the damaged monument was decline, because it would be in contradiction with the agreement signed between the Republic of Latvia and Russian Federation about the memorial place for Russian military persons and protection of the memorial constructions and mass cemeteries.