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Prague To Remove Memorial Plaque Honoring Soviet Marshal

  • RFE/RL's Russian Service

Soviet Marshal Ivan Konyev in Prague at the end of World War II.

Municipal authorities in the Czech capital, Prague, have decided not to rehang a memorial plaque honoring the Soviet marshal who participated in the city's liberation at the end of World War II following the ongoing restoration of the Old City Hall.

A spokesman for the mayor's office, Vit Hofman, said on July 20 on that the plaque honoring Red Army Marshal Ivan Konyev had been removed because of "historical inaccuracies" in its text.

He added that the memorial would be given to the City of Prague Museum, although the city would be willing to consider gifting it to Konyev's living relatives in Russia.

On May 5, 1945, Prague residents rose up against the Nazi German occupying forces. Shortly after, units of the Russian Liberation Army (ROK) -- Soviet soldiers who had agreed to fight under German command against Soviet leader Josef Stalin -- joined the fight on the side of the uprising.

On May 8, German forces began their retreat from Prague after signing a cease-fire with the insurgents. On May 9, after the city had been almost entirely cleared of Germans, units of the Red Army under Konyev's command entered the capital.

Units of U.S. General George Patton's 3rd Army reached the outskirts of Prague around this time but did not act in support of the uprising because of previous political agreements with Stalin.

Czech historians maintain that among Konyev's troops were forces of the Soviet secret police who rounded up thousands of Czech citizens with anti-Bolshevik reputations and sent them to Soviet labor camps.

Konyev commanded the forces of the Warsaw Pact from 1956 until 1960, and oversaw the 1956 suppression of the Hungarian Revolution. He later served as commander of Soviet occupation forces in East Germany.

In 1991, a statue of Konyev was dismantled in the Polish city of Krakow, which his forces liberated in January 1945.

A large statue of Konyev still stands in an outlying neighborhood of Prague.

In 2014, it was vandalized with pink paint. Despite periodic calls to remove that monument, monument, district head Ondrej Kolar told RFE/RL he does not think it should be dismantled.

"It would probably be better to add to it an educational text that told what [Konyev] managed to do in addition to his role in liberating us," Kolar said.

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