Disinfo: Local Gauleiter wants to remove the statue of Marshall Konev, the liberator of Prague

Summary

Prague was liberated after Berlin’s fall. This was not a walk in the park. Konev’s army was set in to the operation, 12,000 of our soldiers died, liberating Prague. The citizens of Prague erected the statue of Konev as a sign of gratitude. And suddenly some local guy, representing a borough, declares that the borough should take down the monument of the liberator and the saviour of the city. Some local kind of Gauleiter. Now Czech President Milos Zeman, a wise and educated man, has said that this is an outrage and this mustn’t be done. We are, of course, grateful towards the President for his support. We hope that after this declaration, the [local] authorities will make the correct decision.

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 article's description of the Head of Prague's Municipal District 6 as "Gauleiter" is consistent with the Kremlin's well-established efforts to smear its opponents as "Fascists" and "Nazis". 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. The Kremlin has a longstanding track record of smearing and misrepresenting efforts by post-communist countries to address the legacy of Soviet memorials. For similar cases, see here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 165
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/09/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Country: USSR, Czech Republic, Russia
  • Keywords: Monuments, Historical revisionism, WWII, Nazi/Fascist
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The Soviet Union was forced to sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

The Soviet Union was forced to sign a pact with Hitler after several attempts to solve the problem with Western countries in a diplomatic way and after trying to make an agreement with Poland. At the same time, the West were helping Hitler by directing him toward the USSR. The content of the agreement was very simple – the two sides agreed to not attack each other for the next 10 years. Secret protocol regulated the distribution of spheres of influence in Poland. The USSR was given only the territory that was previously occupied by Poland after the First World War. These are western Ukraine and western Belarus.

Disproof

A recurring disinformation narrative revising the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and an attempt to portray Russia's role in World War II as non-aggressive. The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) was signed on August 23, 1939. Its secret protocols divided Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. Thus, the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact directly caused the German and Soviet military aggression against Poland in September 1939, which resulted in complete occupation of the country by Germany and the USSR. A secret protocol was appended to the public pact of nonaggression which divided the whole of eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. Poland, east of the line formed by the Narew, Vistula, and San rivers would fall under the Soviet sphere of influence. The protocol also assigned Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland to the Soviet sphere of influence. Also, the Soviet Union kept negotiating with Britain and France, but in the end, Stalin chose to reach an agreement with Germany. By doing so, he hoped to keep the USSR at peace with Germany and to gain time to build up the Soviet military establishment, which had been weakened by the purge of the Red Army officer corps in 1937. See similar disinformation cases here and here. Read more about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: A 'honeymoon' for two dictators (Deutche Welle); The Night Stalin and Hitler Redrew the Map of Europe (RFERL).

JIT conclusions on the downing of MH17 are not objective

It is necessary to create a neutral committee to investigate this tragedy [the downing of the MH17] since the conclusions of the JIT consisting of the representatives of Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Ukraine cannot be fair …the reasons for the tragedy have not yet been fully established.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the downing of the MH17. The criminal investigation in the case was led by the Joint Investigation Team - JIT - since 2014. On 28 September 2016, the JIT announced that flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by a BUK TELAR missile system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the town of Pervomaiskyi in Eastern Ukraine, from where the missile was launched. After firing, the system - with 1 missing missile - went back to the Russian Federation. On the 24th of May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion the BUK TELAR used to shoot down MH17 came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation. On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, with the participation of law enforcement agencies from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service will prosecute Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the MH17 crash and murdering all 298 persons on board. The Public Prosecution Service alleges that the four individuals cooperated to obtain and deploy the BUK TELAR at the firing location with the aim of shooting down an aircraft. For that reason, they can also be held jointly accountable for downing flight MH17. The JIT conclusions were further corroborated by the Bellingcat Investigation Team.

Trump, Pompeo, Belarusian independent media, Duda, all mentally ill

As an anti-human society and a capitalist state the US is a maddened community, which constantly generates degraded politicians. Mass shootings in the US mean that the US is one large madhouse. The very acceptance of American dream turns a human into a maddened person. The same is true for the US ruling elite. Isn’t State Secretary Mike Pompeo, who states that Crimea belongs to banderovtsy [Ukrainian fascists] not a mentally ill politician? US President [former] advisor John Bolton’s face indicates his absolute degradation. Isn’t Donald Trump, who withdrew from the INF Treaty, a mentally ill politician, too? In the countries like the US and Poland where a lot of spoken about love towards God, the key object of worship is Mammon [a term from the Christian Bible used to describe material wealth or greed]. Tadevush Kondrasevich, the Belarusian Roman Catholic Archbishop, would not acknowledge this with his anti-Soviet and Russophobic worldview. In fact, Belarusian independent media and experts are mentally ill people too, just like Crusius, Trump, or Duda. If these people come to power, they would stage as big bacchanalia as mentally ill ‘banderovtsy’, Kaczynski brothers, and racists in Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic states, all servile puppets of the mentally ill uncle Sam.

Disproof

This message is a mix of conspiracies and ungrounded generalisations aimed to discredit the West, the US and Poland in particular, and Belarusian independent media and experts. It is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about decaying, immoral West and its imminent collapse, Nazism / Fascism in Ukraine and the Baltic states, and about belligerent West. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that, in contrast to Russia, western Europe is abandoning Christian roots, and that Western values are egoism, hedonism and extreme relativism.