Czech media: Russian special agent with deadly poison arrives in Prague amid dispute with Moscow over Marshal Konev monument
A Russian special agent arrived in Prague three weeks ago after a monument to Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev was demolished, reported the Czech publication Respekt.
The special agent arrived at Vaclav Havel airport from Russia. He had a Russian diplomatic passport. A car of the Russian diplomatic corps was waiting for him and took him to the Russian embassy. Sources of Respect claim that the person traveled with a briefcase in which he supposedly had deadly poison ricin. Czech Security services knew about his arrival and assessed the men as an immediate risk for a pair of Czech politicians whose actions in recent months had provoked the wrath of Moscow.
According to Respekt’s source, the special agent’s colleagues had departed from Russia to different parts of Europe a month and a half ago.
On April 4, a monument to Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev was dismantled in Prague. Prague mayor, Zdeněk Hřib, the mayor of Prague’s Řeporyje district Pavel Novotný and the mayor of Prague 6 district Ondřej Kolář, who initiated the demolition of the monument, were taken under police protection because of threats from Russia.
The publication reminds that Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu has already demanded to hold the administration of Prague accountable for these actions, and the Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case into “the public desecration of symbols of Military Glory of Russia”. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that the initiators of the demolition should be “aware of the risks of further aggravation of this situation.”
Sergey Shoygu asked the Czech authorities to hand over the monument to Russia, but the request was refused. According to the authorities, the monument is planned to be installed in the Museum of the 20th century in the future. The mayor’s office of Prague promised to allocate funds for it.
The monument to Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev was built on May 9, 1980 in Prague’s Interbrigade Square in gratitude for the fact that the marshal ordered not to use heavy artillery when liberating Prague from the Nazis in May 1945 and thus preserved the historic buildings.
Over the years, the monument has been vandalized many times. The last such case occurred in August 2019. Unknown persons poured red paint on the monument and wrote on the memorial plate: “No to bloody marshal! We won’t not forget.”