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Communist propaganda ban not aiming to dismantle Soviet WWII memorials, vows Polish envoy

The Polish diplomat stressed that Poland reveres the memory of the Soviet soldiers and their heroism during WWII

MOSCOW, July 24. /TASS/. Polish legislation banning communist propaganda is not targeting monuments to Soviet soldiers, it is aimed at propaganda of totalitarian ideologies, Poland’s Ambassador to Russia Wlodzimierz Marciniak said in an interview with Gorovit Moskva radio station on Monday.

"If we pass a law banning communist propaganda, Russia erroneously implies the memory of the Soviet army and Soviet soldiers. In reality, the propaganda of communism and other totalitarian systems is implied. Now amendments have been approved whose aim is to specify decision making procedures, in particular, regarding monuments," the ambassador said.

According to Marciniak, the aim of the amendments is to alleviate any fears over razing monuments at cemeteries and memorial sites. "This is precisely what the amendments ban. In practice, this law strictly specifies and narrows the scope of any demolition," the ambassador added.

The Polish diplomat stressed that Poland reveres the memory of the Soviet soldiers and their heroism during WWII, and is not willing to wipe away everything connected to the Soviet past. He warned against thinking that everything that refers to the Soviet army will be pulled down. "We have fully kept out burial and memorial sites from the (propaganda) law. A decision cannot be made arbitrarily or refer to a general rule - an expert conclusion is needed," he summed up.

Polish president Adrzej Duda on June 22 endorsed amendments to the law banning Communist or other totalitarian propaganda, which took effect on April 2016.

The amendments envision dismantling monuments and memorial plaques to Soviet soldiers who liberated Poland from Nazi occupation.

The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier described Poland’s move as a deliberate provocation, which will not remain without consequences. According to the ministry, Russia has repeatedly drawn Warsaw’s attention to the fact that such actions are a violation of its obligations under international law stemming from bilateral treaties and agreements reached by Russia and Poland in 1992-1994, under which Polish authorities must preserve and protect all such monuments.