Russia's Foreign Ministry compares removal to ISIL's destruction in Palmyra
Poland plans to demolish about 500 Soviet monuments throughout the country like this one in Warsaw. Polish authority wants to remove all reminders of Soviet invasion and subsequent decades-long political dominance from the streets.
The decision was announced by the Institute of National Remembrance. It's responsible for investigating crimes against the Polish nation. According to the head of the Institute, the preservation of the monuments was "a fatal mistake" and they should have been demolished in the early 1990s. Polish authority also announced the streets connected with the Communist past of the country must disappear from the Polish cities.
But Polish government will continue to care for the graves of the Soviet soldiers located in Poland.
Andrzej Zawistowski, head of the department of the Institute of national remembrance: "It's hard to imagine how a monument to Hitler, Goering or other Nazi criminals can stand in Europe. Why should the monuments to Lenin stand? He also had blood on his hands and built a totalitarian state, which lasted much longer than Hitler's one. This is one reason. Another one is that we want to be masters of our land and decide what we want to do."
Each removal of Soviet monuments brings a new round of angry statements from the Russian officials. They accuse Poland of erasing history and threaten the removals "won't remain unanswered."
Maria Zakharova, Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson: "We have just spoken about how ISIS terrorists planted mines inside the monuments of Palmyra. They did this for ideological reasons. The Polish authorities express a desire to tear down memorials to Soviet soldiers for precisely ideological reasons. We demand the preservation of history and its symbols. The authorities in Warsaw should understand that the implementation of plans for a large-scale demolition of Red Army memorials will not go unanswered."
Poland is not backing down. The monuments are set to be removed by the next year and transferred to museums to become a "witness of hard times."
Margaryta Sytnik, Igor Antoniuk reporting from Poland for Ukraine Today.