Czech Foreign Ministry stays aloof from Konev monument dispute

TASS Russian News Agency | Sep 13, 2019 at 2:22 PM

PRAGUE, September 13. /TASS/. The Czech side has been repeatedly warned about serious consequences of the relocation of the monument to Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague, but that country's Foreign Ministry has preferred to distance itself from settling the affair, the Russian embassy in the Czech Republic said following a meeting between Russian Ambassador Alexander Zmeyevsky and Deputy Foreign Minister Ales Chmelar on Friday.

"We dismissed the arguments of the Czech Foreign Ministry, which earlier preferred to stay aloof from settling the Konev monument affair, which in the final count resulted in the municipal authorities' decision to relocate this memorial object," the embassy said in a commentary uploaded to Facebook. "We repeatedly warned the Czech side that such an undesirable turn of events would entail serious consequences. As far as Russia's allegedly ‘disproportionate reaction' to the irresponsible behavior of the Prague-6 district authorities is concerned, Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky earlier made an exhaustive commentary regarding who should present apologies and to whom."

The Russian embassy strongly objects to the plans for moving the monument to Konev to a different site. If carried out, they will be regarded as "the Czech side's failure to properly comply with its commitments under the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Cooperation between Russia and the Czech Republic of 1993."

Monument relocation plans

The municipal council of the Prague-6 municipal district on Thursday voted to relocate the monument to Konev and to create a Prague Liberation Memorial instead. The municipality is still to select a site where the monument to Marshal Konev will be moved.

The Russian Foreign Ministry on Friday expressed indignation over the decision to relocate the monument and warned that such a step would not remain without retaliation.

"The decision made at the municipal level is capable of becoming a major irritant in bilateral relations and overshadow their climate and it will certainly not remain without retaliation. We expect that the initiators of the unprecedented step will change their mind and realize all the consequences of this outrage," the ministry said.

The monument was placed in Prague in 1980 on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the city's liberation by the Red Army's forces under Marshal Konev's command. The monument is a property of the municipal authorities.