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Soviet commander’s statue in Prague removed despite Russian protests

World News | Published:

Pro-Russian Czech President Milos Zeman also complained about the removal.

Czech Republic Russia Statue Dispute

A statue of a Soviet Second World War commander has been removed from a district in Prague despite protests from Russia and pro-Russian Czech President Milos Zeman.

Marshall Ivan Stepanovic Konev led the Red Army forces that liberated Prague and large parts of Czechoslovakia from the Nazi occupation in 1945.

His monument, unveiled in the Prague 6 district in 1980 when the country was occupied by Soviet troops, has been a source of controversy.

Czech Republic Russia Statue Dispute
A worker removes the sign from the statue’s pedestal (Petr David Josek/AP)

Russia vehemently protested when an explanatory text about Konev’s role in crushing the 1956 anti-Soviet uprising in Hungary and preparing the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia was attached to his monument two years ago.

Prague 6 mayor Ondrej Kolar said the authorities wanted to give people “full information that would not conceal what happened”.

After the site was targeted by vandals, Prague 6 representatives agreed last year with Mr Kolar’s proposal to remove the statue.

Czech Republic Russia Statue Dispute
Marshall Konev led the Red Army forces that liberated Prague and large parts of Czechoslovakia from the Nazi occupation in 1945 (Petr David Josek/AP)

Russia’s Foreign Ministry and the Russian embassy in Prague condemned the plan but a crane at the site lifted the statue from its place on Friday morning.

Prague 6 officials said the Konev site will get a new monument to honour the liberators at the end of the Second World War, and his statue will be transferred to a museum.

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