“I am, I fact, glad they are gone, and that’s my personal civic opinion. And I think that people should decide on their fate. We might ask residents of Vilnius or perhaps all Lithuanian residents. We should decide ourselves what to do with them,” the president said on Friday, asked whether the Green Bridge sculptures should be returned.
The four groups of statues, representing Soviet soldiers, workers, peasants and students, stood on the bridge since 1952. Supporters of the removal say the Soviet statues on the Green Bridge in central Vilnius are part of Soviet propaganda, which insults the people who fought for Lithuania’s liberation from the Soviet occupation. Meanwhile others say that desperation to erase all traces of recent history is a sign of immaturity and impoverishes the city.
The sculptures are officially listed as cultural heritage objects. Opponents of the removal maintain that the sculptures are part of the bridge, accusing the administration of politicizing and attempts to settle historical bills.
Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius says the sculptures have been removed for safety reasons and there are no plans to put them back in the same place.