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Moscow urges Europe to step in over Polish de-communisation laws

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 20.07.2017 15:28
The Duma has urged European parliaments to intervene on Poland’s new laws which allow the removal of monuments to Soviet soldiers, a move which Moscow has called a “blasphemous” insult to their memory.
Two-metre tall bust of Russian communist revolutionary Lenin. Photo: Stiopa/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)Two-metre tall bust of Russian communist revolutionary Lenin. Photo: Stiopa/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Last month, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed into law “de-communisation laws” banning communist propaganda and allowing monuments which glorify totalitarian regimes to be removed.

“The desire of unscrupulous politicians to rewrite history … is growing before our very eyes,” the Russian parliament, the Duma, said in a statement.

The Duma said Warsaw was undermining Soviet Russia’s “decisive contribution” to driving Nazi German forces out of Poland towards the end of WWII.

“The USSR paid an immense price for the liberation of Poland, losing over 600,000 Soviet soldiers and officers, who died in engagements with the enemy in the territory of Poland and were buried there,” the Russian foreign ministry said.

Poland and Russia in 1994 signed a bilateral deal to protect memorial sites, which Konstantin Kosachev, Chairperson of the Council of the Federation Committee on Foreign Affairs, said was interpreted differently in Moscow than Warsaw, Russia’s Kommersant daily said.

Poland’s foreign ministry has in the past said that the deal concerns exclusively war cemeteries.

“In Poland there are 1,875 cemeteries and cemetery sections where Russian and Soviet soldiers are buried,” the Polish foreign ministry has previously said, adding that some PLN 14 million had been spent on their protection in recent years.

But Russia said the deal extends also to symbolic monuments, Kosachev told Kommersant.

Kosachev said Moscow may push for sanctions against Poland.

Polish commentators have highlighted that, in their appeal for “historical accuracy”, the Duma and Russian media have not mentioned the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 which outlined the joint invasion of Poland, Russian crimes against Poles including the 1940 Katyń massacre of 20,000 Polish officers, and over 40 years of totalitarian oppression during the Moscow-backed communist regime in Poland after World War II.

Meanwhile, a recent study by the Russia Public Opinion Research Centre found that more than 62 percent of Russians do not oppose monuments to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin being put up.

A separate poll by the Russian Levada Centre found Stalin to be considered Russia’s greatest historical figure by citizens of that country.

Poland’s National Institute of Remembrance, which is tasked with prosecuting crimes against the Polish state, is currently cataloguing sites commemorating Soviet soldiers.

Many monuments will be placed in museums once they are taken down under the new laws. (vb/pk)

Source: IAR, duma.gov.ru, mid.ru

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