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Sculptures on the Green Bridge in Vilnius

Sculptures on the Green Bridge in Vilnius

On October 10 1939, the Soviet Union forced on Lithuania a nonaggression pact that allowed I. Stalin to garrison 20,000 troops in the country. Vilnius was granted from the Soviet Union to Lithuania on October 28, 1939. Thus, Lithuania became an indirect participant of the Soviet-German pact Molotov-Ribbentrop pact signed on August 23, 1939 in Moscow that divided Poland and the Baltic states between Germany and the Soviet Union.

The Third Byelorussian Front Army under the command of general Cherniahovsky liberated Vilnius from the Nazi troops on July 13, 1944 by assault on the city during operation "Bagration".

Modern bridge built in the 1948-1952 by Soviet forces military engineering troops of the Baltic Military District. The bridge features four sets of sculptures - prominent examples of Soviet realism. They all feature two people, representing social classes idealized by the Soviet authorities (soldiers, workers, farmers, students):

After the restoration of Lithuanian independence monument become the target of vandals and attacks by the Lithuanian nationalists.

In 2009, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov suggested financial support from Russian Federation to renovate Soviet-era famous sculptures on the Green Bridge, since the local authorities did not find the money, but the Lithuanian restorers first half overstated estimates of work, and then the Vilnius authorities said that did not ask for foreign aid repair of Soviet sculptures on the Green Bridge.

Since the sculpture is clearly an eyesore to some Lithuanian politicians, in 2015 in connection with the events in Ukraine, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has taken the initiative to dismantle the sculptures on the pretext of their danger to others and the need for restoration work.

On the night of July 20, 2015 by order of the Vilnius mayor Remigijus Šimašius Soviet-era sculptures depicting soldiers and workers were dismantled from the Green Bridge, and the next day - sculptures of peasants and students . Department of Cultural Heritage of Lithuania granted permission to temporary dismantling of the sculptures for the restoration by Vilnius Municipality, but did not excluded them from the list of cultural values. This means that after the restoration the sculptures need to be returned in place. However, the mayor of Vilnius R. Shimashyus doesn't conceal that the city has no plans to restore the sculptures or return them to pedestals.

In Russian: Скульптуры на Зелёном мосту в Вильнюсе