It was only recently that I learned that this statue has a name - her nickname is “Milda”. This is also the name of a Baltic goddess of love, courtship, friendship and freedom. Milda survived WW2 and the Soviet regime. She was threatened with demolition several times but was saved by influential people who recognised her merit from an artistic point. She was physically alienated from the Latvian people by busy roads being created around her as a barrier. Attempts were also made to reinterpret her symbolism so as to be more aligned to Soviet ideology – the three stars were said to represent the three Baltic Soviet Republics held aloft by Mother Russia. Despite this, Milda remained a symbol of national independence to the Latvian people and became a focal point in 1987 when people gathered at the monument to commemorate the victims of the Soviet regime and to lay flowers.

Fragment from an essay "Milda and Me"

Author: Ilse Matthews 

Source: the Facebook group 

What's Your Latvian Story?

Date of publication: April 2, 2019

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