MOSCOW, January 10. /TASS/. The Russian Embassy in Austria has condemned the latest act of vandalism against a World War II memorial, this time in Vienna, which was dedicated to Soviet soldiers, who liberated the country from Nazi occupation in 1945. The diplomatic mission demanded that the country’s authorities punish those responsible for desecrating the monument, the embassy said on its Facebook page on Wednesday.
"The Russian Embassy has sent a note of protest on the specified flagrant act of vandalism to the Austrian Foreign Ministry demanding urgent measures be taken to clear away the damage inflicted, and find and punish under Austrian law those responsible, as well as prevent such incidents in the future," the reports says. The embassy also suggested setting up security cameras near the memorial. It notes that Vienna’s utility crews had already been ordered to remove the damage inflicted to the memorial.
Spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Austria Bulat Khaidarov said earlier on Wednesday that the monument to the Soviet soldiers on the Schwarzenbergplatz square in Vienna was defaced by vandals during the wee hours of January 10. Black paint was splattered over the monument’s base.
The memorial created by architect Sergey Yakovlev and sculptor Mikael Intizaryan and erected on the Schwarzenbergplatz square is Austria’s most famous monument to the Soviet Army’s liberating troops, built in memory of the 17,000 Soviet soldiers who were killed in an offensive during World War II (the Great Patriotic War). It was the Soviet command that spearheaded the monument construction.
The 12-meter-high monument was unveiled on August 19, 1945. It features a soldier with a PPSh-41 submachine gun on a 20-meter base, which reads Stalin’s order for Vienna’s liberation, the text of Soviet poet Sergey Mikhalkov’s poetic address to soldiers, the second couplet of the Soviet state hymn in its 1943 version and an excerpt from Joseph Stalin’s speech of May 9, 1945. There is colonnade behind the monument with an inscription in Russian, which reads "Eternal glory to the heroes of the Red Army who fell in battle against the German fascist invaders for the freedom and independence of the peoples of Europe." The figures of Soviet soldiers in action are pictured on both ends of the colonnade.