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Monument to Red Army soldiers in south of Poland being dismantled

November 05, 2014, 16:20 UTC+3 WARSAW

According to the Novy-Sonch local authorities, the grave itself will remain intact but the "unwanted totalitarian symbols" will be removed

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Monument to Red Army servicemen in the town of Novy-Sonch

Monument to Red Army servicemen in the town of Novy-Sonch

© Guzik /Agencja FORUM

WARSAW, November 5. /TASS/. The authorities of the town of Novy-Sonch in the south of Poland have approved the removal of a number of elements from a monument to Red Army servicemen. On Wednesday, the monument will be first stripped of the so-called "totalitarian symbols”, the city administration said.

After the unwanted elements are liquidated the bas-relief featuring Soviet soldiers will have been removed from the foundation platform alongside with the inscriptions which will have been erased from the four corner elements of the monument, said a spokesman for the local head of voivodeship in Malopolska province.

The city administration agreed to remove the memorial fragments following threats from local veteran and public organizations who said that otherwise, they would use hammers to smash the "totalitarian symbols" off.

The Novy-Sonch Deputy mayor stressed that the act was not meant to damage Russo-Polish relations. He pointed out that the local administration respects the law and has a respectful attitude to servicemen who are buried there. The removal of the Soviet symbols from the war grave conforms to the law, he said.

The local authorities have assured that the grave where the Red Army servicemen are buried will remain intact while the unwanted elements are being removed. The grave will remain in its place until the remains are transferred to the Novy-Sonch city cemetery, which is planned for spring 2015, the local administration said.

A number of Novy-Sonch residents have long insisted on the removal of the monument. Russia's representatives have categorically objected to the planned demolition and demanded that the Polish side observe an agreement signed by the governments of Poland and Russia on February 22, 1994 on maintenance and care of burial places of victims of war and repressions.

The Russian reaction

The Russian embassy in Poland will insist on full restoration of a monument to Red Army servicemen in the town of Novy-Sonch in the south of Poland if the facts of the demolition of the monument are confirmed, spokeswoman for the Russian embassy Valeria Perzhinskaya told TASS on Wednesday.

The maintenance of the former Soviet and Russian war graves and memorials is envisaged in the Russo-Polish agreement signed in February 1994, the spokeswoman said. The Polish authorities are responsible for maintenance of the war memorials which shall be left intact, and prevention of any facts of vandalism against them, the Russian embassy said.

If the reports about dismantling the monument are confirmed the embassy will ask the Polish authorities for explanations and will insist on the restoration of the monument until it regains its original image, the spokeswoman said.

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