The problem with the relocation of the monument of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague still remains unresolved. The possibility of placing the monument on the territory of the Russian Embassy in the Czech Republic is being assessed, stated Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in response to a question from Konev’s daughter.
According to the City Hall of Prague 6, the statue will be placed in the still-incomplete museum, a spokeswoman for the city district said.
During the Lavrov meeting with representatives of national and cultural associations, the marshal’s daughter, Nataliya, asked about the fate of the monument.
“As for the late Marshal Konev, the problem with his memorial has not yet been resolved. It is now somewhere in the warehouse, but it is kept in a dignified condition,” Lavrov replied. “Of course, it is necessary to understand what will happen next, because Czech colleagues told us before this crisis, which they created in the relations with us due to the events of 2014, that they wanted to place it in the Museum of 20th Century Memory. But they haven’t even started creating this museum yet,“ he added.
According to TASS, the minister then noted that the option of locating the memorial on the territory of the Russian diplomatic mission was being considered.
“We do not rule out the option of moving the monument to the Russian embassy, a dignified place in Prague,” Lavrov said, assuring marshal’s daughter that diplomats would address the “somewhat protracted” issue.
Monument sits in storage
Last April, the leadership of Prague 6 had the statue of the military leader, who took part in the liberation of Prague, removed from Interbrigáda Square in Bubeneč. The Russian embassy, communists, and various pro-Russian associations and activists were against the move. In this context, TASS also recalled the negative reaction of Czech President Miloš Zeman.
According to the spokesperson of Prague 6, Kateřina Maršalová, Konev’s statue will be exhibited in the Prague Museum of 20th Century Memory.
So far, the monument is stored in the depository in Měšice in Prague-East. According to information on the institution’s website, the reconstruction of the museum’s headquarters is currently being prepared. The museum, which deals with totalitarian regimes, will be housed in Hradčany.
Crisis in the Czech-Russian relations
Lavrov’s words about the crisis in the Czech-Russian relations due to the events of 2014 probably relate to explosions in ammunition depots in Vrbětice, from which the Czech side suspects Russian military intelligence GRU, as Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced in April.
Subsequently, 18 employees of the Russian embassy who were identified as members of the secret services were expelled from the Czech Republic. After that, the Czech Republic decided to cap the number of diplomats at the Russian Embassy in Prague according to the current situation at the Czech Embassy in Moscow, where seven diplomats and 25 administrative and technical staff remained.
Russia first expelled 20 employees of the Czech embassy in retaliation, and eventually joined the parity representation, leaving seven diplomats, 25 administrative and technical staff, while an additional 19 employees hired on the spot. In solidarity with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Baltic states and Romania also expelled several Russians.
Moscow reciprocated, including Czechia in the list of “not friendly” countries, which, aside from the Czech Republic, includes only the US.
Title image: In this file photo taken on Friday, April 3, 2020, a worker covers the statue of a Soviet World War II commander Marshall Ivan Stepanovic Konev for removal from its site in Prague, Czech Republic. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek/File)