The Konev monument: A small clique of junior officials have created this international row

Summary

Ondřej Kolář, who brought up the idea of removing the monument to Marshall Konev, Prague’s liberator from the Nazis, is a junior city official of the Municipal District 6 in Prague with a few supporters. That means that this international row has been set up by a small clique of municipal clerks. No one outside the Czech capital had ever heard about Ondřej Kolář. His hatred towards all Russians is gigantic. These people are idiots.

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 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: 13/09/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, Czech Republic
  • Keywords: Monuments, WWII, Russophobia
  • Outlet: REN-TV
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Removal of the monument to Marshall Konev is a violation of the Czech-Russian agreement of 1993

The decision to remove the monument is an outrage and violates the obligations of the Czech Republic according to the 1993 agreement on amicable relations and cooperation.

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.

In the dispute over the statue, Russia has argued that under the Czech-Russian mutual agreement of 1993, the Czech Republic is obliged to leave the statue in place on Prague's Interbrigade Square. However, this is an intentionally false and misleading interpretation of the terms of the agreement (full text available here). The monument is municipal property, belonging to city district Prague 6, and the 1993 agreement therefore does not apply to this case.

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

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".

European political elites are forced to stupidly obey Americans

It’s very bad that European countries do not understand where the USA’s thoughtless policy leads. Political elites in Europe either do not think about it or are influenced and patronised by American political elites to such extent that must just stupidly obey them.

It is an American tradition to fight by someone else’s hands and on someone else’s territory, if only the USA would not suffer, therefore Europeans act as cannon fodder here.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about US presence in Europe, portraying Europe as a vassal of the USA. Russian disinformation sources like to claim that almost all European countries are no longer truly sovereign and the United States dictate EU and member states policies.

The EU Member States are sovereign countries and make sovereign decisions about their own security and policies. Possible NATO/ US military presence and support in the EU Member States is possible only on the basis of the clear request/ consent of the hosting nation. The US is an important ally to the EU but EU policy is not determined by the US, as explained by the EU High Representative.