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Poland demolishes 4 Red Army monuments

October 27, 2022

Four communist-era Red Army monuments were dismantled in Poland, as the country tries to remove symbols of Moscow's past domination from the public spaces.

The Red Army Gratitude Monument was dismantled in Glubczyce
Workers dismantle the Red Army's gratitude monument in Glubczyce. Four similar monuments were dismantled on that day, all over PolandImage: Grzegorz Klatka/CTK/dpa//picture alliance

Poland on Thursday dismantled four communist-era monuments to Red Army soldiers who died during World War II. The step comes amid historically strained relations between Warsaw and Moscow that have deteriorated following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"This is a monument to disgrace, a monument of contempt of the winners over the victims," the head of the Institute of National Remembrance, Karol Nawrocki, said in Glubczyce, in the south of Poland, while workers were busy dismantling the obelisk.

"In 1945, the Soviets did not bring liberation, they brought another captivity. They were capturing Poland and treating it as booty," Nawrocki said, adding that the spirit of that system is still present in the Russian Federation, which is killing civilians in Ukraine.

Nawrocki also stressed that Russian law prosecutes and sentences anyone removing Soviet army monuments to up to three years in prison, even in foreign countries.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov condemned the demolition of the monuments in Poland.

Poland removes 4 monuments to Soviet army

Symbols of domination

Russia argues that it liberated Poland when its forces drove out German Nazis at the end of the war. Most Poles believe that the Soviet Union replaced Nazi occupation with another form of repression.

Since shedding communist rule in 1989, Poland has been taking steps to remove symbols of Moscow's past domination from the public spaces, and authorities have taken down several monuments and plaques. Some have been moved to special storage. The drive does not include cemeteries or current burial sites.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year has made the effort even more urgent. Poland supports Ukraine's fight against Russia politically, militarily and economically.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, Soviet-era monuments have also been dismantled or removed in Estonia and Latvia.

dh/sms (AP, Reuters)