Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Seething, Gnashing Of Teeth

The Soviet Union Russians just can't understand why they're not loved by central and eastern Europeans.
Seeing red

The Foreign Affairs Ministry is rushing to smooth tensions after controversy erupted over a Soviet war memorial in south Moravia that's pitted the Russian consulate against a local politician.

The monument, beside a church in the Královo Pole district of Brno, commemorates 326 Red Army soldiers who died liberating the city from Nazi forces in 1945. Above the interred remains of the dead sits a stone obelisk, erected in 1946, that’s crowned with a five-pointed star and embossed at the base with a hammer and sickle. A message in Russian commemorates the unidentified dead.

But during the night June 25, the hammer and sickle disappeared, and none other than Královo Pole’s deputy mayor has claimed responsibility. Two days before the memorial was to be officially unveiled after months of renovations, René Pelán called a stonemason for help. Pelán was so opposed to the hammer and sickle that he himself took power tools to the stone to help grind it off.

The hammer and sickle are communist symbols, and communism is connected with dictatorship and a reign of terror,” said Pelán, who called the memorial “a monster.” As for the star, “I have nothing against [it],” he said. “That’s the official symbol of the Red Army.”

At the unveiling June 27, police had to be called to detain protesters who showed up to support Pelán’s move, the Czech News Agency (ČTK) reported. Alexei Kolmakov, attaché at Brno’s Russian consulate, arrived to observe the fracas.

Russian consular officials refused to comment, but in a June 28 press release called Pélan’s actions “a deliberate disgracing” of the Red Army victims and an attempt to “rewrite history.”
Such as the liberation of Plzeň?
In late May, when Pelán proposed replacing the monument with a general one to all World War II victims, the consulate released a statement saying they would consider any steps to remove the memorial as “hostile.”
Looks like Královo Pole’s deputy mayor has called their bluff.

And his actions told the Soviets Russians to STFU, already.

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