Petty Prague Malcontents Keep Pushing Plan to Swap Out Soviet Marshal For Nazi General!
The war of monuments in Prague has reached a new level. After discussing the idea of moving the full-size statue of the Soviet liberator Marshal Ivan Konev, the Czech capital's authorities went even further. They thought of putting up a monument to the treacherous Nazi collaborator General Vlasov.
During World War II, he led the so-called Russian Liberation Army, whose troops fought on the Third Reich's side. After the victory (over Nazi Germany), he was sentenced to death by hanging for treason. Perpetuating the memory of the war criminal Vlasov is an absolute outrage. It's deeply insensitive towards the millions of victims of fascism and the hundreds of thousands of Red Army soldiers who had died while liberating Czechoslovakia from Hitler's troops.
Ilya Kanavin is reporting from Prague.
His name is Yury Iosifovich, last name — Kadeřábek. A Czech. He's 93 years old.
“The infantry can't stay in the water for too long. We need to keep our heads above the water. And their troops had such a good position. There were a lot of Vlasovites (Nazi collaborators) on the German side.”
He was wounded in 1945 in the battle for Frankfurt an der Oder for the second time during the war. He says he was lucky. However, such awards aren't given for luck.
— What's the most precious and important award for you?
— The Order of Glory. He got it for Danzig. And also the Order of the Patriotic War for a battle in which he suppressed two fascist machine-gun nests and took out two Faustpatrone-armed soldiers.
— They should be afraid of you.
Try to tell Yury Iosifovich the new version of who liberated his motherland.
— The Vlasovites were never considered liberators. It's nonsense. Some are saying now that Prague was liberated by the Vlasovites… They're saying that when the Soviet forces came, Prague was already liberated. There are bastards who are saying that.
Pavel Novotny, the warden of Praha-Řeporyje district, would've been remembered as a little political freak who is ready to put a penis on his face. However, anatomical experiments didn't seem enough for him. And he didn't have any ideas until his mentor, a former member of the European Parliament, gave him the idea to declare the Vlasovites as liberators. It's a good replacement for the extreme glasses — joining in the Russophobic hype. Stanislav Novotny, Chairman of the Association of Czech Independent Media — ironically, a namesake — chose a place of our meeting himself. By the monument to Pushkin at Pushkin Square in a cozy part of Prague.
«Because he's a provocateur. He wants fame. All the foreign policy is now being done by mayors in Prague. But none of them can coordinate their actions. It's amazing what's going on now».
For 10 years, Petr Hájek served as press secretary for Václav Klaus, the previous president of the Czech Republic.
Petr Hájek: “It's a clear provocation of some small groups being supported by the US. Our president and government have different views, so these people have to act through district authorities. They understand that it will hurt the feelings of all the Russian people.”
Miloš Zeman, President of the Czech Republic: «The Vlasovtsy were traitors to their motherland for years. I think their treason can't be forgotten. Can they make up for it by the positive actions that lasted for just several days and can it be accordingly forgotten that they betrayed their motherland? I don't think so».
«Prague speaking! Red Army, listen to our transmission. We need your help».
The Prague uprising began on May 5th, 1945. It's been 3 days since the fall of Berlin. Marshal Konev receives an order to get to Prague immediately.
Otto Weidinger, member of the Waffen-SS: “On May 6th, Grand Admiral Dönitz gave a speech on the radio. He said that it became pointless to resist the Western Allies, however, all the units which were engaged on the Eastern Front were to meet the advancing Soviet forces with violent resistance in order to allow the Western Allies to take the biggest possible portion of the German Reich.”
Konev fights his way through and passes 30-40 km (18-25 miles) every 24 hours. Meanwhile, the Germans drown the Prague uprising in blood. Something unexpected happens. The 1st division of ROA, Vlasovites, led by Bunyachenko, a Red Army defector, starts shooting at their former masters — the Germans. They capture the airport and engage in street battles along with the rebels. This is Czechoslovakia's historical footage.
«They indeed defended Prague a bit. Because they wanted to surrender to the Americans afterward. That was their general plan. There was nothing else».
Vlasov himself is said to have disagreed with Bunyachenko and had gone to the Americans without him. Bunyachenko, on the other hand, asked the Czechs for political asylum for his military help. He failed here too. The very next day, on May 7th, the Vlasovites abandon Prague and run to the Americans to surrender, leaving behind 300 of their dead. This is something like their mass grave in Olšany Cemetery.
Zdeněk Dragoun, Generals of the World for Peace International Public Association: One day, we'll all meet here at the cemetery.
— What would you say to them?
— I wouldn't even speak to them. Because they're traitors, shall we say. And we can say they're traitors of two nations. They betrayed both Stalin and Hitler when they tried to save their own skin.
After the Vlasovites fled from Prague, the rebels' situation became worse. SS units came here and started to plant explosives all over the city. Nobody canceled the order to resist the Russians. Watch Czechoslovakia's historical footage again. No need for translation here.
The Red Army soldiers are greeted with lilac, the girls pose for pictures — the closer to the soldiers, the better. Konev himself remembered that they were met in Prague like nowhere else. Total jubilation. In whose head was the idea planted that all this must be forgotten? The brain of a small municipal official who announced that the monument to Konev needs to be removed?
Jaroslav Bašta, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Russia in 2000-2005: I wrote almost two months ago that the next step would be to put up a monument to the Vlasovites. It happened. I was right.
— Doesn't it scare you that you were so right?
— It scares me, and I try to do the best I can.
Mr. Bašta well remembers who was the source even before the idea to build an underground garage at the site of the monument to Marshal Konev.
— There was a woman who stood there each year with a sign saying that Konev is an enemy. What I don't understand is that she represents the Russian minority in the council of our government.
That woman is Evgeniya Chikhalova. She's a descendant of those traitors who fought in the SS Cossack divisions. It really is unclear why she represents Russians in Prague. Why does her advice have any significance in the municipality? But it's clear why Konev is an enemy for her. Her heroes are those who lost the war, those who are acknowledged as war criminals by the Nuremberg Tribunal. Here she's laying flowers to the grave of SS General Helmuth von Pannwitz — well known for his reprisals and sadism.
Olšany Cemetery has 436 concise obelisks. These might be the most sorrowful and striking graves of those who were just hours away from victory. Quite often, the date of death is May 9th, that much is clear. But look at these — the date of death is May 11th. The second one — May 11th again. Same for the third, fourth, and fifth ones. The war was already over, but they kept dying. From their wounds and the last snapping bullets. During the Prague operation, the 1st Ukrainian Front alone lost almost 6,500 soldiers.
This week, the Moravian-Ostrava Operation Memorial was renewed. More than 1,500 fallen soldiers ceased to be unknown.
«My father, Kharchenko Ivan Makarovich, was killed on May 3, 1945, while liberating the territory near Prague».
People from Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russia came here. 10 years ago, it was impossible to think that we would have to once again defend such an ultimate and common victory over fascism.
Ilya Kanavin, Sergey Rubanov, Andrey Boroukhin, Ilgiz Khakimov — Vesti News of the Week.