Disinfo: Removal of Konev statue in Prague is rewriting of history

Summary

There are increasing attempts of officials in some foreign countries to falsify the historical truth about the decisive contribution of the Soviet Union in defeating fascist invaders during World War II and the Great Patriotic War.

An example of this is what happened on April 3, 2020, in Prague, where a memorial of the Soviet marshal Konev was removed based on a decision of the Prague 6 city council.

Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative 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. It is also consistent with Russia's accusation to the EU and the West of trying to rewrite the history of WWII and undermine the role of the Soviet Army in defeating Nazism. The removal of the statue has nothing to do with denying the role and the sacrifices of Soviet soldiers in defeating Nazism.

The mayor of the Prague 6 district that owns the statue, Ondřej 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 to remove the statue. "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 is available here.

The democratically elected municipal council of Prague 6 voted for the removal of the statue. Based on 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 Kolář reminded.

Read similar cases here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 193
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Czech Republic, Russia
  • Keywords: Anti-Russian, Historical revisionism, Monuments, WWII, 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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