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12 Apr, 2020 19:20

‘Driven by hatred & envy’: Czech president slams tearing down of monument to Soviet marshal who liberated Prague

‘Driven by hatred & envy’: Czech president slams tearing down of monument to Soviet marshal who liberated Prague

The removal of a monument to Marshal Ivan Konev, who headed Soviet troops fighting to free Prague from the Nazis in 1945, was a dumb move by people who have achieved nothing in their lives, Czech President Milos Zeman has said

“Marshal Konev, who liberated not only Prague but also [Nazi death camp] Auschwitz, fully deserved his place in Prague,” Zeman pointed out in an interview with local broadcaster iPrima.

Speaking from behind a medical face mask, he branded the dismantling of the monument to the commander of the 1st Ukrainian Front army group, one of the most celebrated Red Army generals of World War II, “a laughable and dumb” decision.

Those behind it “have achieved nothing in their lives. They are jealous of those who succeeded. Sadly, there are quite a lot of such people. They are driven by hatred and envy,” he said.

The authorities of District Six in the Czech capital, Prague, removed Konev’s statue from its pedestal in early April. Amid the coronavirus lockdown, District Mayor Ondrej Kolar joked the bronze commander was penalized because “he didn’t have a mask on.”

Kolar was blasted online, both for his divisive policies and his fringe sense of humor. Many also suspected him of deliberately choosing to tear down the monument during the Covid-19 outbreak to prevent protests like the ones that took place last September when the decision on the statue was made.

Also on rt.com ‘Dark day’ in Prague: Czech authorities use sham ‘no mask’ Covid-19 excuse to tear down monument to Soviet liberator

The move provoked a harsh response from Moscow, which is actively opposing attempts by the West and some Eastern European nations to rewrite WWII history. The dismantling of the monument was described as a “dark day” in Prague’s history and a “provocation” aimed at damaging ties between Russia and the Czech Republic.

Russian prosecutors have launched a criminal case against the District Six administration in accordance with a new legislation that outlaws destroying or damaging memorials to those who died protecting the country.Zeman criticized the move as “counterproductive” for bilateral relations and an interference in the Czech Republic’s internal affairs.

Also on rt.com Czech president slams denial of entry for Russian official, calls it ‘stupid provocation’

Konev’s statue is slated to become an exhibit in a museum dedicated to the “totalitarian regimes” present on Czech territory in various periods.

This means that the Soviet commander, who was given a hero’s welcome in Prague in May 1945, will likely be part of the same exhibition as the Nazis, who occupied the Czech state – then called Czechoslovakia – back in March 1939, months before the outbreak of WWII. However, it’s currently unknown where and when this museum will open, if it ever happens.

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