Poland demolishes four Soviet WWII monuments
Polish authorities have torn down four World War II monuments to fallen Soviet soldiers, arguing that the Red Army enslaved Poland in 1945. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned the move, describing Warsaw’s claims as a “monstrous lie.”
The demolition of the war memorials took place on Thursday in the towns of Glubczyce, Byczyna, Staszow, as well as in Bobolice in the north of the country.
Standing in front of one of the statues shortly before it was torn down, Karol Nawrocki, the head of Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), argued that “this monument is a monument of lies.”
“The Soviets did not bring freedom in 1945, they brought a new enslavement,” Reuters quoted him as saying.
The Kremlin was quick to condemn Warsaw’s actions, with spokesperson Dmitry Peskov arguing that the Polish government’s reasoning behind the demolitions was a “monstrous lie.”
The Russian official pointed out that “so many citizens of the Soviet Union died liberating Poland.”
Peskov went on to accuse authorities in Warsaw of attempting to “fool the younger generation of Poles, feeding them lies and provoking hatred for Russians.”
While Russia insists that the Red Army freed Poland from Nazi Germany, Polish officials believe the country was subjected to decades of an oppressive communist regime as a result.
In 2016, the Polish government passed a law requiring local authorities to remove objects and names that “propagate communism or other totalitarian systems,” with that push receiving new momentum following the start of Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine earlier this year.
Speaking to Poland’s Gazeta Pomorska newspaper last month, Nawrocki revealed that authorities had demolished 20 Soviet memorials since then.
He added, however, that there remained 40 more monuments earmarked for demolition.
Neighboring Latvia and Estonia have gone down the same path, removing several Soviet-era war memorials in recent months.
Moscow has consistently condemned the removals.