Comment by the Information and Press Department on the demolition of the Gratitude Monument in Lancut, Poland

Submitted on Mon, 12/26/2016 - 15:58

By the order of the Lancut city administration (Podkarpackie Voivodeship), the demolition was started recently of the Gratitude Monument commemorating the heroic deeds of the Soviet army that liberated Poland from Nazi occupation. The decision to remove the memorial was made without prior permission. There were no consultations with Russia, something that is required by Warsaw’s international legal obligations.

What we see here is another act of ostentatious cynicism. Polish officials did not simply once again neglect the Treaty between Russia and Poland on Friendly and Good-Neighbourly Cooperation of 1992 and the Agreement between the Governments of Russia and Poland on Burial Sites of and Memorials for Victims of Wars and Repressions of 1994 which stipulate that the memorial sites be protected and maintained. To us and the entire civilised world, Poland is showing its attitude towards the tragic chapters of recent history when the European people, at the cost of numerous victims and much effort, defended their freedom and independence. This year alone, seven monuments to Soviet soldiers have been demolished in Poland. Fifteen acts of vandalism at Soviet memorial sites have occurred, including nine at cemeteries.

We are aware of the amendments to Polish law currently in development that will prohibit “Communist propaganda or that of any other totalitarian regime.” Once adopted, they will pave the way for more mass eradication of Soviet and Russian monuments in Poland. We would like to resolutely caution our Polish counterparts against such an ill-considered step to avoid any additional complications in our bilateral relations, which are already uneasy.