Reconstruction of the Latvian Occupation Museum complex at 1 Strēlnieku Square, Riga is approaching the finish - indoor works are actively underway, in parallel with the preparation of the building for commissioning. Completed and commissioned environmental object - a memorial to the victims of the Soviet occupation “Historical Tactile”, which will be made available to the general public on 14 June, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the tragic event in Latvian history, when in 1941 the Soviet regime deported more than 15,000 citizens, points out Renārs Griškevičs, Chairman of the Board of SJSC State Real Estate (SRE).
The ambitious environmental object - a memorial to the victims of the Soviet occupation “Historical Tactile”, at a height of 10 metres and a width of 18 metres, provides symbolic confirmation of the connection between today and the tragedy of our nation. Remembering these crimes, on 14 June, a virtual commemoration event will take place throughout the Latvian President's Office, the Ministry of Culture, the Latvian National Library and all of the Latvian local government by the name of “Taken Away. But Not Forgotten. 80 years since the deportations on 14 June”, on which at 11.00 a.m., the names of deportees will be read at the same time throughout the country. The memorial will house one of the four reading places in Riga, from where readings of the names of the deportees will be streamed on the public media portal and the website of the National Library of Latvia, as well as an environmental object, at the edges of which the names of all Latvian deportees will be displayed.
“Without qualitative recognition of the past, there is no future: the commissioned memorial is the first step towards the early return of the debt - a completely restored memorial complex - to the repressed and their families, providing a proper place and form to preserve their memory. Together with the Occupation Museum in the centre of Riga, the much-needed institution of historical memories will start functioning fully in modern premises, which is one of the dominants of the historical centre of Riga,” points out the Minister of Culture Nauris Puntulis.
“Currently, the reconstruction of the Occupation Museum interior is actively continuing, about 95% of the interior work has been completed. It is planned to put the renovated Occupation Complex into operation and to set up the museum exposition in June, if the changes in the process of execution of works will not occur due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions caused by it. The memorial is equipped with special audio-visual equipment that creates sound, vibration and light effects, which will fit into the environment of the city of Riga and will be available to the public after the opening of the complex. Birch trees have been planted in the front yard of the house towards the River Daugava, thus reflecting the idea of a birch grove, which characterizes the Latvian landscape, as well as it is equipped with special lighting,” informs Renārs Griškevičs, Chairman of the Board of SRE.
The large-scale construction works of the Occupation Museum complex have reached the finish line. The existing building has been preserved in dark tones, symbolising the past, but the new extension “Nākotnes nams” (House for the Future) is bright, symbolising the present, which ends on the side of Grēcinieku Street with a glass wall and a glass pyramid on the roof, symbolising an enlightened future. The opening of the complex is planned to take place in July, if the current situation regarding limiting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country allows it.
Part of the Latvian Riflemen Square belongs to the state, and the other part to the local government. With the renovation of the Occupation Museum complex, SRE has taken the initiative to organise the renovation of the cover of the future complex next to the territory of Riga Municipality, which is one of the first examples where the state and the municipality cooperate for a common goal. The agreement reached between SRE and Riga City Council envisages the renovation of half of the square, which is planned to be completed this autumn; the municipality plans to renovate the other part of the square on the side of Riga Technical University in the coming years.
With the completion of the large-scale complex, the Occupation Museum will acquire modern exhibition space, which will highlight the occupation period in the history of Latvia; the repressed and their relatives have a place in the memory of the victims of the occupation, Riga residents and guests. In total, 10,434,869 euros have been invested in the reconstruction of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia and the establishment of a memorial complex for the victims of the Soviet occupation: The Ministry of Culture has attracted state budget funding of 9,405,196 euros, the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia has co-financed 160,000 euros, while co-financing from the European Union funds, the state budget and Riga City Council amounts to 869,673 euros.
Last year, 17 nationally significant development projects with a total budget of 29.5 million euros were completed under the leadership of SRE. Last year, 17 nationally significant development projects with a total budget of 29.5 million euros were completed under the leadership of SRE. In the conditions of the pandemic, respecting the precautionary and safety requirements, work on 43 different construction sites of national importance with a total project budget of 156 million euros continues under the leadership of SRE. SRE provides professional real estate management and administration for approximately 400 real estate properties with 1100 buildings of 1.02 million square metres and more than 3600 land properties with an area of 9.6 million square metres. SRE was founded in 1996 and its sole (100%) shareholder is the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Latvia.