Prague Mayor Plans to Remove Soviet Statue, Russia Gets Angry
Russian and Czech relations have heated up ever since a Prague district assembly voted to remove a monument of a wartime Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev.
RadioFreeEurope reports that the Czech Foreign Ministry called in Russia’s ambassador to the Czech Republic on September 13 over comments that Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky made about the mayor of the Prague district who voted for the statue. Medinsky compared the mayor to a Nazi party official.
In the meantime, Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded by saying that the decision, “won’t be left unanswered.”
Some see Konev, whose forces freed much of Czechoslovakia’s territory during World War II, as a brutal enforcer of Soviet rules in Central and Eastern Europe in the aftermath of World War II.
Konev’s statue has been defaced several times, one of the most recent occasions being on August 21, the 51st anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
In response to this, Prague 6 district Mayor Ondrej Kolar put a tarp on the statue, which provoked pro-Russian supporters to remove it while others laid flowers at the statue.
“Deputy Foreign Minister Chmelar reminded the ambassador of the Treaty of Friendly Relations and Cooperation between our countries, which the Czech side strictly respects, assumes mutual respect and equality, and stressed that the issue of the statue of Marshal Konev in Prague 6 is an internal affair of the Czech Republic,” the Czech Foreign Ministry declared in a statement.
“He also warned against abusing history for political purposes and fomenting passions in this area,” it continued, addressing Medinsky’s comments about the Prague mayor.
On September 12, the Russian Embassy in Prague claimed that Prague 6 had launched “a campaign that offends the memory of Red Army soldiers, and the Czechs and Slovaks who were fighting to liberate Czechoslovakia and its capital from Nazism.”
The following day the Foreign Ministry in Moscow warned that this removal could become “a noticeable irritant” in relationships between the two countries and “seriously darkens their atmosphere.”
“We hope that the initiators of the unprecedented action, which is being prepared, will come to reason and will realize all consequences of their actions,” the Ministry added.
While the American Left is relentlessly pushing for political correctness and trying to deface monuments of American heritage, Central and Eastern Europeans are trying to re-assert their history of anti-Communism by removing monuments of figures who were responsible for the oppression of millions of people.
This represents a marked difference politically and culturally from the ever-increasing tide of leftism in America and the growing influence of right-wing populism in Central and Eastern Europe.