Latvia demolished a Soviet-era concrete obelisk featuring Soviet stars on Thursday that was erected as a commemoration of the Red Army’s victory over the Nazis during World War II.
The monument located in capital Riga was removed along with several other statues in Victory Park. It is just one of multiple Soviet monuments that have come down since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Associated Press reported.
The nearly 260-foot tall statue was taken down using heavy machinery, crashing into a pond causing a large splash across Victory Park.
The obelisk was made up of five spires with Soviet stars on them. It stood next to two groups of statues representing Red Army soldiers and a “Motherland” statue of a woman with her arms outstretched.
It was constructed in 1985 when Latvia was part of the Soviet Union and had been criticized for not being taken down after Latvia became independent in 1991 and then became an EU and NATO member.
The toppling of the statue was filmed live by a Latvian broadcaster, with a crowd wearing Latvian flags cheering and applauding.
The demolition of Victory Park was approved by the Latvian parliaments in May and the Riga City Council soon after.
Latvia’s Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs said on Twitter that demolishing the obelisk was part of his country’s “closing another painful page of history and looking for [a] better future.”
Latvia has a 133-mile border with Russia and has a significant ethnic Russian population.