Disinfo: Czech Russophobes dismantled the Konev monument to increase dependency on the USA

Summary

The dismantling of the Konev monument in Prague is a result of Russophobia that has recently emerged in Czechia. It is generated by a tiny group based mainly in Prague, but it has a vast reach through particular media. The people promoting Russophobia have a strategic plan that combines both political and economic goals. In terms of economy, they want to move the countries of Eastern and Central Europe away from energy dependency on Russia. In this way, they aim to strengthen the dependency of the region on Western Europe and the USA. In terms of politics, they want to prevent the countries of the region to implement “foreign policy in all directions”, reducing their sovereignty and strengthening their connection to American geopolitical strategy.

Disproof

Recurring conspiracy theory consistent with the pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about EU countries being US puppets and the supposedly hostile anti-Russian intentions of the West. It is one of several disinformation cases about the democratically-decided removal of the Konev monument in Prague - an incident that has raised the ire of the Kremlin and even led Moscow to open a symbolic criminal case to investigate the alleged "defiling of symbols of Russia's military glory." The democratically elected municipal council of Prague 6 voted for the removal of the Konev statue. Using the protocol of the Politbureau's assembly, Czech historians established that on 8-14 May 1968, Konev chaired the Soviet military delegation sent to Prague to prepare the military invasion of Czechoslovakia. Konev was also chief of the Soviet troops in East Germany during the Berlin wall crisis in 1961. In other words, the Red Army brought not only liberation but also terror to Czechia, as the mayor of Prague 6, Ondřej Kolář, reminded. Kolář said that he respects the role of Konev-led forces in liberating Prague, and the sacrifice of Soviet armies liberating Europe from Nazism. "We will strive for an art competition for a memorial to the liberators of Prague at the end of World War Two instead of the Marshal Konev statue," he said before the vote. "At the same time we will secure a dignified - and let me stress that, dignified - placement of this art piece (Konev) in a memorial institution. I think this is a consensual solution we have called for a number of years." The monument to Marshall Konev was erected in 1980 during the "normalisation" period in communist Czechoslovakia. The leadership of Prague's Municipal District 6, which retains legal ownership of the statue, has voted to move the monument to a museum and replace it with a memorial commemorating Soviet sacrifices in the fight against Hitler in general, and the liberation of Prague in particular. More information available here. See earlier disinformation cases concerning the Konev statue which alleged that the purpose of removing the monuments is to provoke aggression towards Russia, that the removal is immoral and illegal, and that Konev's monument was removed with the aim to insult Russia. [Note: This opinion piece contained other disinformation about Poland and Western democracies cooperating with Hitler and Western countries revising WWII history to evade responsibility for allowing Hitler to gather strength for the attack on the USSR.]

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 196
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Polish
  • Country: Czech Republic, US, Russia
  • Keywords: Monuments, Historical revisionism, Anti-Russian, Red Army, WWII, US presence in Europe, Conspiracy theory, Russophobia
see more

“Devaluation” of Victory Day means “devaluation” of Ukraine

Some forces intentionally tried to devalue the Victory Day only because Russia celebrates it, this meaning that Ukraine should not celebrate… The attempt to “devalue” Victory Day is an attempt to “devalue” the state of Ukraine itself.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative distorting the events of the Second World War. Since 2016, in the framework of the law on decommunisation, on 9 May, Ukraine began to celebrate "Victory Day over Nazism in World War II of 1939-1945." The holiday replaced the "Victory Day over fascism in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945." The relevant law No. 2539 “On the Perpetuation of the Victory over Nazism in World War II of 1939 - 1945” was adopted on 9 April 2015, by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The law defines the duty of the state and citizens of Ukraine to respect the memory of the victory over Nazism in WWII; war veterans, members of the Ukrainian liberation movement and the victims of Nazism. At the same time, while respecting the memory of those who fell during WWII, the use of Soviet symbols was cancelled. Instead, now the official symbol of the celebration of the Day of Victory over Nazism in WWII is the red poppy flower - the generally accepted symbol in the world for the celebration of significant days of WWII. Also, together with many EU countries, on 8 May, Ukraine annually celebrates Remembrance and Reconciliation Day. The holiday is celebrated on the day of the surrender of Nazi Germany on 8 May 1945.

The purpose of the US Arctic Doctrine is to destabilise the region

Washington has long been developing plans for the international use of the Arctic seas. Also, criticising Russia for the “militarisation” of the Arctic. In October 2019, the Pentagon unveiled its Arctic Doctrine. The purpose of Doctrine is to block the Russian Northern Sea Route. They likely will deploy the US naval strike groups in the European sector of the Arctic. This will inevitably lead to regional destabilisation. Russia will never give its Arctic to anyone.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US, claiming that American and NATO policies are a threat to world peace and security. US policy towards the Arctic emphasises science and international collaboration, tending to neglect strategic and geopolitical considerations. In June 2019, the US Department of Defense released its updated Arctic Defence Strategy. This document focuses on threats posed by Russia – which is building up and upgrading military infrastructure in its Arctic region – and by China. Previously abandoned Cold War-era military installations have been reopened and incursions by Russian aircraft and submarines into or close to other countries’ Arctic spaces have become more frequent. The US and NATO are reviewing their policies in the Arctic region because of the increasing military activities of Russia and China in the Arctic. Read similar cases claiming that Washington is using NATO for military confrontation in the Arctic, or Finland cooperates with NATO in order to get territory in the Arctic, that the new US policy in the Arctic is belligerent, and that NATO wants to prevent Russia from utilising the Northeast passage.

Ukrainian army purposefully fires at children in Donbas

Against the backdrop of indifference on the part of the world community, Ukrainian servicemen intentionally fire at children of the Donetsk People’s Republic. Ukraine continues to terrorise the Republic’s population and traditionally increases the number of aggressive acts before holidays, such as Victory Day.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the war in Ukraine. Over the last two weeks, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission has recorded just one case of injuries sustained by children. According to the May 5 report, three children were injured due to shelling in Oleksandrivka (non-government-controlled). Medical staff at a Donetsk hospital refused to provide the SMM with further information. Also, according to the OSCE mission's daily reports, the number of ceasefire violations in the previous 30 days as of 7 May was lower than the 2019 daily average. However, the number of daily ceasefire violations on 5 May was higher than average. According to human rights organisations, children's rights are often violated by the occupying administrations in Donbas. For instance, the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" created a militarised "army" for young people which is called "Yunarmia". Since 2014, children have participated in non-government military formations on both sides. See recent disinformation alleging that Kyiv will soon try to take back the Donbas and that Kyiv's Western protectors are inflaming war in the Donbas.