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Poland passes law on demolishing Red Army monuments

June 22, 2017, 12:20 UTC+3

A total of 408 MPs voted yes, seven said no, and another 15 abstained

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Monument of Soviet troops at the Soviet Military Cemetery in Warsaw

Monument of Soviet troops at the Soviet Military Cemetery in Warsaw

© AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski

WARSAW, June 22. /TASS/.The lower house of Poland’s parliament, the Sejm, voted on Thursday to introduce amendments to the country’s de-communization law, envisaging the demolition of Soviet-era monuments, including memorials in honor of the Red Army.

"The law has been passed," the press service of the Sejm confirmed to TASS.

The majority of parties of the Polish parliament endorsed the amendments in the first and second readings. A total of 408 MPs voted yes, seven said no, and another 15 abstained.

The amendments say that monuments and other similar sites "cannot pay tribute to persons, organizations, events or dates symbolizing communism or other totalitarian systems." These memorials do not include monuments at cemeteries and other burial places, facilities not located at public areas and those erected for scientific goals as pieces of art and also monuments included in the registry of pieces of architecture.

The Polish lawmakers suggest demolishing other memorials not included in these categories within 12 months after the amendments enter into force. Experts say there are at least 469 such monuments, and around 250 of them are dedicated to the Red Army.

Authors of the bill say "keeping the names of institutions and monuments in honor of events and people who exerted their criminal influence on Poland’s history enables supporters of totalitarian systems to advance their views, what negatively affects the society."

They called to revise the law by creating "legal tools for eliminating the demoralizing monuments and names from the public sites." "This gives the public a clear signal that the state implements the constitutional principle banning the totalitarian regime, condemning and unmasking all steps related to promoting totalitarian views," an explanatory note to the amendments said.

Last year, after the initiative on dismantling the Red Army monuments was declared, Zakharova said Moscow would not leave this step unanswered. The diplomat stressed that the war against monuments is aimed at effacing from the Polish people’s memory the fact that the Red Army saved them from the total elimination by Hitler’s Nazis.

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