The move comes as Warsaw emphasizes its condemnation of Russia’s ongoing war against neighboring Ukraine.
Poland has dismantled four communist-era monuments to Red Army soldiers in a renewed effort to remove symbols of Moscow’s dominance after World War II and to emphasize its condemnation of Moscow’s ongoing war against neighboring Ukraine.
On Thursday, workers used drills and heavy equipment to destroy 1945 monuments at four different locations in Poland.
Most of them were shaped like concrete obelisks dedicated to Red Army soldiers who fell while fighting to defeat Nazi German troops.
The director of the state historical institute, Karol Nawrocki, who called for the removal, said the monuments represented a system that was guilty of enslaving and murdering its own people and other nations, including Poles.
“This is a monument to disgrace, a monument to the contempt of the winners for the victims,” Nawrocki said in Glubczyce, southern Poland, as workers prepared to remove the figure of a Red Army soldier before dismantling the whole monument. .
“In 1945, the Soviets did not bring liberation, they brought another captivity. They were capturing Poland and treating it like booty,” Nawrocki said in an emotional speech.
He said that the spirit of that system is still present in the Russian Federation, which is killing civilians in Ukraine.
He stressed that Russian law prosecutes and allows up to three years in prison for anyone who removes Soviet army monuments, including in foreign countries.
The other monuments were removed from former burial sites at Byczyna in the southwest and Bobolice in the northwest. The remains of the soldiers were exhumed and moved to proper graves in the 1950s. A stone monument was also dismantled in the woods near Staszow in the south.
Since throwing off the communist regime in 1989, Poland has been taking steps to remove symbols of Moscow’s past domination from public space, taking away monuments and plaques. Some have been moved to special storage. Unit does not include current cemeteries or burial sites.
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine this year has added urgency to the efforts. Poland supports Ukraine’s struggle against Russia politically, militarily and economically.
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