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Russia issues note of protest to Czech embassy over desecrated statue of Soviet commander

Moscow appeals for punishing the vandals as well as retrieving the monument's original look

MOSCOW, August 23. /TASS/. Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a note of protest to the Czech embassy in Moscow on Friday over the desecrated monument to WWII Soviet Commander Ivan Konev in Prague.

"On August 23, the Czech charge d’affaires in Moscow was summoned to the Foreign Ministry of Russia where he was handed a note of a resolute protest over a new act of desecrating the monument to Marshal of the Soviet Union Konev in Prague," the ministry said in a statement.

"We urged Prague to put an end to such provocations, find and punish the vandals, and also to bring the monument into its proper state and provide for its preservation in the future," the statement reads.

"We drew the diplomat’s attention to the systematic nature of such unlawful actions. We stated that we qualify such acts by vandals and the local authorities’ outright connivance with them as the desire to distort and rewrite the history, belittle the significance of the Great Victory, impose a negative image of the liberating soldiers that contradicts the historical truth on the public," the ministry’s statement says.

"We reminded the diplomat that the marshal is linked with the Czech Republic only by the victorious May of 1945 when the troops of the 1st Ukrainian Front under his command liberated Prague from Nazi forces," the ministry said.

Special indignation is caused by the attempts of the so-called historians in the Czech Republic to link the name of Ivan Konev with the 1968 events, with which the marshal had nothing to do, Russia’s Foreign Ministry stressed.

Overnight to Thursday, the vandals poured red paint on the plinth and the lower part of the full-length monument to the Soviet marshal. They also left insulting inscriptions on the monument. The authorities have pledged to promptly remove them and clean off the paint from the statue.

The monument to the Soviet commander was installed in Prague in 1980. The event was timed for the 35th anniversary of Prague’s liberation from Nazis by the 1st Ukrainian Front commanded by Marshal Konev.