Mar 14, 2024

Russia to Prosecute Czechs Over Konev Statue Removal

Russia is initiating criminal prosecutions against over 50 politicians from the Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia for the removal of Soviet-era monuments.

Among those targeted are Prague 6 Mayor Jakub Stárek and predecessor Ondřej Kolář for removing a statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev.

Mr. Kolář said he was “in good company and that the news had motivated him to continue his work”. He headed the district when a monument to Soviet commander Ivan Konev was taken down in 2020.

Russian law provides for up to five years in prison but Czech officials condemn the prosecutions as “unenforceable”.

Konev is regarded as a hero in Russia for retaking much of Eastern Europe from Nazi German forces during World War II. But many Czechs view him an enforcer of Soviet rule after the war.

He led the Soviet troops that entered Prague after it had been liberated from the Nazis by resistance forces.

But he also commanded the troops that crushed the 1956 anti-Soviet uprising in Hungary and helped build the Berlin Wall. Some historians say Konev also participated in planning the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.

President Vladimir Putin has accused Russia’s detractors of diminishing the Soviet war effort and its huge loss of life and said Moscow must defend itself from what he has called the rewriting of history.


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