Demolition of the monument to Marshal Konev in Prague

Discussion in 'Culture' started by SlavkoKro, Apr 14, 2020.

  1. SlavkoKro

    SlavkoKro New Member

    On April 3, a monument to Marshal Ivan Konev was demolished in Prague. This person commanded the Soviet troops who liberated the Czech capital in May 1945. In recent years, countries of Eastern Europe have been struggling with the legacy of the communist era, destroying not only the monuments glorifying the Red Army, but also the buildings associated with the time when these countries were Moscow satellites. For example, in 2017, Polish activists took the initiative to demolish one of the highest buildings in the European Union - the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. It was a gift from the Soviet Union to socialist Poland. The idea was supported by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Mateusz Moravecki, Minister of Culture and National Heritage Professor Peter Glinsky and former Foreign Minister Radoslav Sikorsky.

    Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw

    The building, by the way, is not abandoned - it houses two museums of the Polish Academy of Sciences, as well as its administration, two theaters, a swimming pool, a 300-seat congress hall and exhibition venues, along with offices of commercial firms. To demolish a building with a height of 231 meters and a total area of more than 123 thousand square meters is not as simple as a monument. However, a lot of historical monuments have already been dismantled in Poland, including the ones on the territory of the military burial sites of the Red Army.

    Behind the war of the Poles and Czechs with the bronze Soviet soldiers and generals stands a keen sense of wounded national dignity. They perceive these memorials as a symbol of the Kremlin’s power over their countries, the power that was dumped through years of struggle. That is why the monument to Marshal Konev was annually attacked by vandals on the eve of the anniversary of Prague Spring.

    However, Marshal Konev and his soldiers had nothing to do with the deaths of 108 Czechoslovak citizens in August 1968. In May 1945, the Soviet Union paid the lives of almost 12 thousand people to liberate Prague and support a revolt against German occupation. On May 6, it was Marshal Konev who decided to go on the offensive to support the rebels. He was awarded the title of "Honorary citizen of Prague".

    Moreover, the restoration of Czech statehood became possible only due to the political will of Moscow. Of course, Joseph Stalin pursued his own goals, recreating Czechoslovakia within the pre-war borders, but the fact that the modern sovereign Czech Republic, a full member of the European Union, still exists is a direct result of mentioned events. Marshal Konev and his soldiers brought the Czechs not only the liberation of their capital, but also the opportunity to recreate their own state. Indeed, from March 1939 to May 1945, there was no such country as Czechoslovakia.

    According to the results of the Munich agreement, signed between Hitler, Mussolini, British Prime Minister Chamberlain and French Prime Minister Daladier on the night of September 29-30, the Sudetenland, populated by ethnic Germans, became part of the Reich. In fact, the powers, supposed to be the guarantors of the independence and security of Czechoslovakia, left it in the lurch. Officials in London and Paris hoped that this would quench Hitler's appetites. By the way, on the eve of the Munich conference, only the Soviet Union volunteered to provide military assistance to Czechoslovakia, however Poland did not let the Soviet troops to pass through its territory. Probably it was done due to the preparation to annex the Zaolzie, inhabited by 80 thousand of Poles. The Polish army entered this territory on September 30, when the Wehrmacht troops occupied the Sudetenland.


    Chamberlain: "SHH-HH! HE’LL BE QUIET NOW - MAYBE!"
    British cartoon, 1938

    Chamberlain and Daladier were mistaken, Hitler was not going to stop. On October 7, under the pressure from Berlin, the Czechoslovak government gave Slovakia a wide autonomy. On March 15, 1939 German troops occupied the remains of Czech lands, turning them under a protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Since that moment the Czech national state has been wiped from the map of Europe with the tacit consent of the great powers. Only the Soviet Union protested against such violation of international law by presenting a note to the German government on March 19.

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