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Soviet-era monument to disappear from Warsaw’s Praga district

PR dla Zagranicy
John Beauchamp 27.02.2015 11:50
Warsaw councillors have decided on the removal of the monument of the Polish-Soviet brotherhood-in-arms, popularly known as the ‘Four Sleepers’, from the capital’s eastern Praga district.
The Four Sleepers monument in Warsaw. Photo: Ireneusz S. Wierzejski/cc/Wikimedia CommonsThe Four Sleepers monument in Warsaw. Photo: Ireneusz S. Wierzejski/cc/Wikimedia Commons

The monument is set to be put into storage by the capital’s Municipal Roads Authority after a motion was approved by councillors from the ruling Civic Platform and the opposition Law and Justice parties, with 51 votes for and two against in a vote on Thursday.

Chairman of the Law and Justice group of councillors Jarosław Krajewski told Polish Radio that there are still some 300 memorials in Poland which are the legacy of the communist system. “Today the glorification of communism, and of other totalitarian systems, is forbidden,” he maintained.

Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy’s Press Attaché Valeria Perzhinskaya told the Moscow-based ITAR-TASS news agency that in 2011, Warsaw authorities agreed to the return of the monument following the completion of the central section of capital’s second metro line.

“The decision to temporarily move the monument was taken in consultation with the Russian side, as provided by the intergovernmental agreement of 1994 on graves and places of memory of the victims of war and repression,” Perzhinskaya underlined.

Perzhinskaya added that the Russian Embassy had sent a letter back in December 2014 to Andrzej Kunert, the head of the Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites – a Polish government body charged with the preservation of historical sites of wartime persecution of the Polish nation – over the monument’s proposed location following the metro construction.

However, “We still have not received a response to this appeal and continue to expect an explanation from the Polish authorities,” Perzhinskaya told ITAR-TASS.

The monument of the Polish-Soviet brotherhood-in-arms had stood in the Praga district of Warsaw since 1945. It was dismantled in 2011 due to the construction of the second line of the city’s metro.

Thousands of Warsaw residents protested against its planned return, saying that as the symbol of the Soviet oppression it should be removed from the city. (mk/jb)

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