Early Monday morning, two of the four Soviet era statues on the Green Bridge of Vilnius were removed. In their place, pots with blooming flowers were placed.
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

The two statues, depicting a pair of factory workers and a pair of Red Army soldiers, were dismantled first for repairs, as their condition was the worst. All four groups of statues will be removed from the bridge by mid-week.

Workers started the dismantlement of statues for repairs on Sunday morning.

The removal will cost around EUR 38,000 for the city of Vilnius.

The controversial statues have attracted calls to remove them permanently. However, that cannot be done as long as they are listed as protected monuments. While some say Vilnius should keep the Green Bridge statues as a reminder of its history, albeit painful, others insist they represent Soviet propaganda and are therefore an insult to the nation.

No plans to renovate

Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius said there were so far no plans to renovate the sculptures. In his words, the fate of the statues should be decided in autumn.

"In autumn, we will bring everyone to a table and decide," the mayor told journalists on Monday.

In his words, three informal proposals have been received from “near-by parks” to display the four statues.

Virginijus Pauza, director of the Vilnius municipality's City Service and Transport Department, said the removal had gone smoothly, with no damage caused to the sculptures. He assured that no sculptures should be left on the bridge in central Vilnius on Tuesday morning.

The four groups of statues, representing Soviet soldiers, workers, peasants and students, have stood on the bridge since 1952.

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