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Amid Diplomatic Spat, Move Made To Rename Moscow Subway Station Dedicated To Prague

A train arrives at the Prazhskaya (Prague) station on the Moscow subway. (file photo)
A train arrives at the Prazhskaya (Prague) station on the Moscow subway. (file photo)

A Russian government department has proposed renaming a Moscow subway station dedicated to the Czech capital, Prague, amid a diplomatic spat between the two countries, Russian media report.

The proposal comes after Prague city authorities recently removed a controversial statue of a Soviet World War II marshal.

Russia's Investigative Committee on April 10 threatened to open a criminal case against the Czech Republic, although Moscow has no legal jurisdiction in the Central European country.

Prague municipal officials on April 3 removed a statue of Soviet Marshall Ivan Konev, who led the Red Army troops that entered Prague in May 1945 after the city had been liberated from the Nazis by resistance forces.

Russia media reported on April 16 that the Public Council at the Russian Defense Ministry proposed renaming the "Prazhskaya" subway station to "Marshal Konev."

The council said the proposal was "a response" to the removal of Konev's statue in Prague.

The council sent a letter to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to request support for the proposal, the Defense Ministry's Zvezda television channel said.

The Czech Foreign Ministry has accused Moscow of meddling in its internal affairs.

The monument, which was erected by the communist Czechoslovak government in 1980, has long been controversial and has frequently been vandalized since the collapse of communism in 1989.

Soviet Marshal's Statue Reveals Monumental Rift In Czech Society
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Konev also commanded the Soviet troops that suppressed the 1956 uprising in Hungary and that helped build the Berlin Wall. Some historians believe he played a role in planning the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. He died in 1973.

Czech officials have said the Konev statue will be reinstalled at another location and that its previous site would host a new monument honoring the Prague resistance fighters who liberated the capital in the days before Konev's troops arrived.

Moscow has vehemently protested the removal of the statue. On April 9, Shoigu asked his Czech counterpart, Lubomir Metnar, to hand over the statue to Russia. Metnar refused, saying it belonged to the city of Prague.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has frequently criticized European countries of "rewriting history" by allegedly diminishing the role of the Soviet Union in the defeat of Nazi Germany, while Central European countries counter that Putin has downplayed the crimes of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and the consequences of the postwar Soviet occupation of the region.

With reporting by MK24 and Zvezda
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