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
  • Language/target audience: Polish
  • Country: Czech Republic, Russia, US
  • Keywords: Conspiracy theory, Red Army, Anti-Russian, Historical revisionism, Monuments, WWII, US presence in Europe, Russophobia

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Poland and Western democracies cooperated with Hitler

We cannot forget that before the German attack on Poland, the authorities of this country were ready to cooperate with Hitler and were connected to Germany by an agreement. The Poles even attacked Czechoslovakia taking part in the division of spoils. Stalin could not trust in the fact that the Polish Army would not be used for a German attack on the USSR. […]

It is known that initially, Stalin tried to find allies among Western democracies, which, however, counted on the clash of two totalitarian systems. This conflict would have destroyed their potential, enabling Western capitals to reconstruct devastated Eastern and Central Europe, not without profit for itself. In the 1930s, the Western democracies had enough force to suppress Hitler’s aggression in the bud and the USSR offered them a coalition against Hitler. Although, they were afraid of Bolshevism, so that is why they preferred Hitler.

Disproof

This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to erode the disastrous historical role of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by the statements that the USSR was forced to sign this pact; other European countries signed various international agreements with Adolf HitlerMunich Agreement triggered WWII and various historical conspiracies saying that the Western democracies wanted to inspire a war between Nazism and Communism.

The claim that Poland was “an ally of Nazi Germany” goes against all available historical documents. Before WWII, Poland had tense political relations with Nazi Germany, which expressed open territorial claims on Poland (revision of the status of the Free City of Danzig and control over the “Polish Corridor”). Despite intense political pressure from Hitler, Poland consistently refused to become part of the Nazi block. According to the pre-war plans of Hitler, Poland was supposed to be part of the “living space”/ Lebensraum for the Third Reich, a large part of its territory was planned to be incorporated into the German state and millions of Poles and Polish Jews were supposed to be exterminated.

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Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Euromaidan protests and a coup d'etat in Ukraine.

According to a 2015 report of International Advisory Panel on Maidan investigations, “--- the PGO investigation found evidence relatively quickly to the effect that a Berkut unit had killed 39 protesters with AKS 7.62mm calibre weapons on 20February 2014.”

NATO illegally expanded to the borders of Russia

Russia was never an aggressor. It was always attacked by the West. […] In 1990 Germany was reunited, but NATO illegally expanded to the borders of Russia. Now the Cordon Sanitaire against Russia is back. Russia’s security interests must always be considered by the West.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West encircling Russia via NATO. The NATO enlargement was not "illegal".

NATO Allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any such decision having been taken by NATO. Even if there was a personal assurance from an individual leader, it could not replace Alliance consensus and does not constitute a formal NATO agreement. This promise was never made, as confirmed by Mikhail Gorbachev, then-president of the Soviet Union.