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In Vilnius, sculptures of soldiers of the occupying forces of the USSR are being dismantled in the cemetery

Vilnius The dismantling of the sculptures of soldiers of the occupying troops of the USSR began on Tuesday in the Antakalne cemetery, despite the opposition of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

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Vilnius Mayor Remigiis Šimašus expressed his belief that the monument is “a symbol of Soviet ideology, which has nothing to do with graves” and that its dismantling is “lawful and justified”.

The mayor added that all necessary permits have been received and the conclusions of the UN Council are not an obstacle to the dismantling of the sculptures.

“I have no doubt that this is the only right decision,” he told reporters.

“I’m glad we don’t have to report to the United Nations,” Šimašus said. “Of course, the state – the government and the Ministry of Justice, which represents it – will have to inform the Human Rights Council about what we are doing,” he added.

“The worst thing that can happen is for the United Nations to take the wrong position. However, I really believe in common sense. Even if the discussions seem strange so far,” admitted the mayor of Vilnius.

The dismantling of the sculptures will be done carefully so as not to damage them, and the work is expected to last a few weeks, according to the notice previously released by the municipality.

Work has been going on for a week in the Antakalne cemetery to prepare for the dismantling of the sculptures.

As reported, the UNHRC in November imposed temporary restrictions preventing the Vilnius authorities from dismantling these monuments that symbolize the power of the communist occupation.

The UNHRC made this decision on the basis of a request made by the ‘ethnic Russians’ group, who argued that the decision of the Vilnius municipality to dismantle the monument in the Antakalne cemetery is a violation of their rights as a national minority. The applicants further allege that their right to private and family life has been violated.

However Lithuanian the authorities have decided to remove the sculptures, despite the decision of the United Nations.

The Justice Ministry and the Vilnius municipality said the UNHRC was deceived, as the plaintiffs claimed the monument would be desecrated, but the Soviet soldiers buried there, who fell during Lithuania’s repeated occupation, were reburied.

However, the Lithuanian authorities have no such intention.

The municipality has undertaken to deliver the dismantled sculptures to the National Museum of Lithuania.

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