Marshal Konev Makes Triumphant Return To Prague

June 25, 2020 10:26 GMT – By RFE/RL

After the controversial removal of a statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague in April, the wartime Red Army commander has returned to Prague — in force.

As part of the eighth annual Landscape Festival, 12 small statues of Konev were installed around Prague’s Zizkov district. Some are painted to look like superheroes Batman and Superman, as well as the Joker, and even Adolf Hitler.

Relations between Prague and Moscow have been in a downward spiral in recent months amid what the Czechs see as Russia’s growing assertiveness over its interpretation of history.

At the center of the dispute was the removal from a Prague district of a statue of Konev, whose armies completed Prague’s liberation on May 9, 1945. The district said the statue would be moved to a museum and a new monument honoring the city’s liberation would take its place.

Russia lashed out angrily over the move, and tensions were heightened further when Czech media reported that Moscow planned to poison the three Prague politicians in retaliation for supporting moves that have irritated Russia, including the removal of Konev’s statue. The plot was later declared to be a hoax and a result of an “internal conflict,” Czech officials said.


The "little Konev" statues -- such as this one painted to resemble Batman -- are placed along the street in Prague named after Marshal Konev: Konevova.
1The “little Konev” statues — such as this one painted to resemble Batman — are placed along the street in Prague named after Marshal Konev: Konevova.
A Soviet "Superman" is also among the exhibited statues, titled Konevmen.
2A Soviet “Superman” is also among the exhibited statues, titled Konevmen.
3
The monument to Ivan Stepanovic Konev as seen before the controversy in Prague.
4The monument to Ivan Stepanovic Konev as seen before the controversy in Prague.
Konev's statue lies on the ground after being removed from its pedestal on April 3.
5Konev’s statue lies on the ground after being removed from its pedestal on April 3.
This time, Konev brings a lighter side to Prague...
6This time, Konev brings a lighter side to Prague…
...as well as a more provocative side.
7…as well as a more provocative side.
8
9
The Landscape Festival will run through the summer till the end of September in Prague.
10. The Landscape Festival will run through the summer till the end of September in Prague.

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