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Marshal Konev Makes Triumphant Return To Prague

After the controversial removal of a statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague in April, the wartime Red Army commander has returned to Prague -- in force.

As part of the eighth annual Landscape Festival, 12 small statues of Konev were installed around Prague's Zizkov district. Some are painted to look like superheroes Batman and Superman, as well as the Joker, and even Adolf Hitler.

Relations between Prague and Moscow have been in a downward spiral in recent months amid what the Czechs see as Russia's growing assertiveness over its interpretation of history.

At the center of the dispute was the removal from a Prague district of a statue of Konev, whose armies completed Prague's liberation on May 9, 1945. The district said the statue would be moved to a museum and a new monument honoring the city's liberation would take its place.

Russia lashed out angrily over the move, and tensions were heightened further when Czech media reported that Moscow planned to poison the three Prague politicians in retaliation for supporting moves that have irritated Russia, including the removal of Konev's statue. The plot was later declared to be a hoax and a result of an "internal conflict," Czech officials said.

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