This year marks the 75th Anniversary of the Victory over the German Fascists, where Soviet Union played the decisive and definitive role in sealing that Victory. This role of USSR is like a thorn in the eye of the modern day revisionists and neo-Fascists, who over the past decades have been ferociously rewriting history and smearing Russia as the heir to the USSR. The history is remembered as long as there are physical manifestations of said history left in the world.
As such, the especially vicious battle has been wielded against the monuments commemorating the Soviet (and by that meaning all nationalities, not just Russian) soldiers and commanders on the post-Soviet space. Poland, Czech Republic, Romania and others started the trend as soon as the CIA assets took power in those countries. After 2014, once the neo-Fascits took hold of power in Ukraine with the help of the USA and EU, the demolition of the WWII memorials was put on the assembly line rate level, at the same tempo as the destruction of the Ukrainian economy that it inherited after the USSR.
Now, that the date of the 75th Anniversary is drawing ever nearer, the newest salvo in the war on the historical monuments was heard from Prague, Czech Republic, where the memorial to Marshal Ivan Konev – the saviour of Prague – was torn down. If not for Konev’s army and his decisive, yet careful actions, Prague would be looking like Dresden now. Albeit, not because of the American firebombing, but because of the demolition charges that the retreating German forces put all around the city. It is the remembrance of the salvation of such cities as Prague and Krakow – at great self-sacrificial cost on the part of the Soviet troops – that the CIA assets are eager to destroy.
Addendum Lada Ray published a very forceful article about the desecration of the memorial to Prague’s saviour on Patreon: 75 Years Later, Nazism Won in Europe? Czechia Demolishes Monument to Russian Marshal Konev, Liberator of Auschwitz & Prague! (LADA RAY REPORT)
Please read it, as it contains a much deeper historical perspective around the liberation of Prague, as wellanalysis of the situation with the war on monuments in particular and the state of the Western world in general.
Related article translation that I published 5 years ago, the the 70th Anniversary: Prague Winter. What is the Czechs’ attitude towards the coming 70th anniversary of the Victory?
Below is my speed-translation of an article from “Argumenty i Facty” from 09.04.2020, showing the shame of Prague district 6 in all its ignominious glory.
Descendants of the Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev began collecting signatures for the transfer to Russia of the monument to the commander that was dismantled in Prague. The daughter of the Marshal, Natalia Koneva, hopes that the monument will be installed in Moscow.
“We have Marshal Konev street. And it will be natural if the monument would stand on it.”
A petition entitled “Family for moving of the monument to Marshal of the Soviet Union Ivan Konev from Prague (Czech Republic) to Moscow” appeared on the online platform Change.org.
The commander’s daughter, Natalia Koneva, confirmed that the campaign to collect signatures was really organized by the family members.
“We, the family members of Ivan Stepanovich Konev, have started collecting signatures to return the monument home,” she said in a comment to RIA Novosti. — This is my dream. I have not mentioned this before, because there was a hope that the monument would remain in Prague in its place, where it stood for several decades. But people who believe that the role of the Red Army should be erased from history, decided to demolish the monument. And this forces us to resort to the help of social movements, people of different ages, so that they petition to our state by collecting signatures in support of the initiative, as we call it, ‘Bring the Marshal home!'”.
According to Natalia, it would be logical to install a monument in Moscow: “We have Marshal Konev street. And it will be natural if the monument would stand on it, people would come there, pay tribute to the memory of Ivan Stepanovich. There are two schools there that could patronize the monument.”
Long road to victory
During the Great Patriotic War, Ivan Konev commanded the 19th Army, the Western, Kalinin, Steppe, 2nd and 1st Ukrainian fronts.
The rank of Marshal of the Soviet Union was awarded to Konev in February 1944, after his troops distinguished themselves during the Korsun-Shevchenko operation. The title of Hero of the Soviet Union with the Order of Lenin and the “Gold Star” medal was awarded to Ivan Konev on July 29, 1944 for his skilful leadership of the frontline troops in major operations, in which strong enemy groups were defeated, for his personal courage and heroism.
Commander of the 19th army of the Western front, Lieutenant General Ivan Stepanovich Konev. 1941
In January 1945, the front’s troops, as a result of a rapid strike and a detour manoeuvre in the Vistula-Oder operation, prevented the retreating enemy from destroying Silesian industry, which was of great economic importance. In February 1945, Konev’s troops conducted the lower Silesian operation, and in March the upper Silesian operation, achieving significant results in both cases. His armies performed brilliantly in the Berlin operation and in the Prague operation.
The rapid rush of the forces of the 1st Ukrainian front to Prague was the last major operation of the Second World War in the European theatre of operations. (Translator note: this operation was performed between the 9th and 12th of May, after the Victory day. More about it here, with a separate translation coming soon.) The Soviet offensive prevented the danger of the destruction of the Czech capital by Hitler’s troops, as well as the mass death of civilians. The soldiers of Marshal Konev were welcomed by the inhabitants of Czechoslovakia as liberators, and no one could then have imagined that this role could be called into question.
The second “Gold Star” medal was awarded to Marshal Konev on June 1, 1945 for exemplary leadership of troops in the final operations of the Great Patriotic war. He was also awarded the highest military commander’s Order of “Victory”.
In the post-war years, Ivan Konev held various positions, including First Deputy Minister of Defence of the USSR and Commander-in-chief of The Joint Armed Forces of the Warsaw Pact countries. In this capacity, Konev led the suppression of the anti-Soviet revolt in Hungary in 1956. (translator note: revolt, better viewed as one of the early “colour” revolution attempts. What would have happened to Hungary if it was not suppressed, see: Russia anno 1992-99 with 30 million people dead and economy destroyed during the Yeltsin’s “Wild 90’s”)
Monument to the Sons of Russia and the Soviet Union who died on Slovenian soil during the First and Second World wars.
Zavgaev’s Method. Why Slovenia does not destroy the monuments to our soldiers?
In 1961, Konev, who had already retired, was returned to the command post — during the Berlin crisis, he was the Commander-in-Chief of the Group of Soviet troops in Germany. The commander died in 1973 at the age of 75. Konev was awarded the highest posthumous Soviet honours — the commander was buried in the necropolis at the Kremlin wall.
The Mayor against the Commander
The monument to Ivan Konev, designed by Czechoslovak sculptor Zdeněk Krybus (translator note: Wikipedia shows the memorial to Konev as the prime example of Zdeněk’s work), was installed in Prague in 1980, on the 35th anniversary of the liberation of the city from the Nazi invaders.
The initiator of the monument’s dismantling was the mayor of the Prague-6 district, Ondřej Kolář [Ondrzhej Kolarzh] (heading it since 2014). First, by his initiative, an inscription appeared on the monument, stating that Konev suppressed the Hungarian uprising in 1956, and participated in the construction of the Berlin wall in 1961.
It was more difficult to link the Marshal to the suppression of the so-called “Prague spring”. But Kolář came up with a wording — the inscription next to the monument read: “Personally supported the conduct of communications reconnaissance before the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops”. (Translator note: a bit like saying that NATO troops invaded France, or something to that tune. Besides, if one looks closely at those events, one would quickly find out that the initiative for the suppression of the colour revolution in Prague came from the Polish party tops)
In September 2019, the Prague-6 district Council voted to remove the monument. This operation was performed on April 3, 2020. Kolarz linked it to the coronavirus quarantine. In the social media, the mayor signed a photo of the monument, removed from the pedestal, like this: “He did not wear a mask. The rules apply to everyone equally.” The statue was placed in storage on the territory belonging to one of the commercial firms. What will happen next is unclear. Apparently, mayor Kolář, who was running around with the idea of dismantling the monument, did not plan so far ahead.
There are some plans to create a Museum where the statue of the Marshal should become an exhibit. On the other hand, there is evidence that the authorities of Prague 6 are ready to sell the monument. Meanwhile, in Prague itself, representatives of other districts spoke of their readiness to install the statue at home. But Kolarz did not remove Konev from his pedestal only to allow him to rise again.
A fragment from the second article above:
The personal war of the Prague’s mayor
Already back in 1991, the monument in memory of the Soviet tankers who were the first to engage in battle on the streets of Prague, was dismantled.
In 2017, a memorial plaque was removed from the City Hall, the inscription on which read: “On may 9, 1945, the troops of the 1st Ukrainian front of the valiant Red Army under the command of Hero of the Soviet Union Marshal Ivan Stepanovich Konev liberated Prague, which rebelled against the German occupiers. In gratitude, Marshal I.S.Konev was elected an honorary resident of Prague.”
For the mayor of the Prague-6 district, Ondřej Kolář war with a monument to Konev became his main concern.
Time to go home?
And here is a paradox — in the Czech Republic, there are enough people who do not like the actions of the authorities of the Prague-6 district. Even the country’s President, Milos Zeman, has repeatedly condemned what is happening. But all in vain — the memory of Ivan Konev was trampled.
The Russian Embassy strongly protested to the Czech Foreign Ministry. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu asked the head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation Alexander Bastrykin to bring criminal charges against the foreign officials responsible for the demolition of monuments to Soviet citizens.
In this situation, there is one subtlety — the monument to Konev was installed by the Czechs themselves, on their own initiative, collecting funds for its creation. So the situation is like this: they put it up themselves and demolished it themselves — in fact, this is a matter of the conscience of the people.
Buying out the monument to one of the victorious marshals that has become unneeded in Prague and finding a place for it in our country, is probably the most reasonable thing to do in this situation. Moreover, the family of Ivan Stepanovich Konev asks for this.