Comment by the Information and Press Department on the latest case of desecrating Soviet graves in Poland

Submitted on Thu, 08/11/2016 - 20:06

Acts of vandalism continue against Soviet memorials in Poland. The memorial on the common grave of Soviet soldiers in the village of Przesieki (Greater Poland Voivodeship) was desecrated on the night of July 25. A red star was torn off the monument to soldiers of the 61st Army of the First Byelorussian Front who died fighting against Nazi invaders for the town of Krzyz.

We demand that Polish authorities condemn the incident, find and punish the perpetrators and restore the monument to its original state.

Unfortunately, we have to acknowledge that Soviet soldiers’ graves on Polish territory are regularly subjected to abuse by vandals, in spite of Polish officials’ repeated statements that they are reliably protected and guarded. In our opinion, this is to a large extent encouraged by the so-called “historical policy” carried out by Warsaw on the national level. This policy is aimed at downgrading the Red Army’s crucial role in liberating Europe from Nazism. In addition, the media are constantly playing up the Polish authorities’ plans to completely remove Soviet war memorials unassociated with graves from public spaces. In July, another municipality, this time of the town of Sanok (the Subcarpathian Voivodeship) decided to dismantle a monument of gratitude to the Red Army.

At the same time, Poland continues to refuse to engage in constructive dialogue with us to solve the backlog of problems concerning memorials. Russia’s proposal to organise a meeting of the working group on monitoring the implementation of the Agreement between Russia and Poland on cemeteries and remembrance sites of victims of wars and repression of February 22, 1994 also remains unanswered.

We would like to hope that common sense will finally prevail and Poland will stop the systematic disrespect of the memory of people who sacrificed their lives for the freedom and independence of Poland and the survival of the Polish nation, and that this energy will instead be directed in positive directions like promoting stability and neighbourly relations in Europe.