Disinfo: Konev’s monument in Prague was removed with the aim to insult Russia

Summary

Apparently, the transfers of Soviet war memorials in Poland, the Bronze Soldier in Tallinn or removal of Konev’s monument in Prague are not about domestic affairs but about the wish to insult Russia and provoke its emotional reaction. Instead, the Russian state started calmly and decisively to respond. Russian society’s emotions concerning these actions are similar to the ones that Islamists provoked upon destroying Buddha monuments in Afghanistan.

Disproof

This is a false claim and one of several disinformation cases about the statue of Marshall Konev in Prague. It is also consistent with common pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Russophobia and the supposedly hostile anti-Russian intentions of the West, based on which Russia can cast itself as the victim.

The democratically elected municipal council of Prague 6 voted for the removal of the 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 the 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's 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 Prague committed a crime by removing the Konev monument.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue193
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 13/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Afghanistan, Czech Republic, USSR, Russia
  • Keywords: World War 2, Anti-Russian, Monuments, 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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