Prague’s District 6 council used a crane Friday to implement its decision last September to remove a statue of Ivan Stepanovic Konev, a World War II commander, whose statue was erected in 1980.
The news is reported by iDNES.
The statue was replaced by a (temporary) red bust of Josef Stalin wearing a black face mask.
The reason why Stalin’s bust has a face mask is probably connected to Prague 6 Mayor’s statement, following the removal of Marshal Konev statue: “He was not wearing a face mask. The rules are the same for everyone,” wrote Ondřej Kolář on Facebook on Friday.
“Konev has been toppled, but Konev will stand again — only in the museum,” he added.
Czech President Milos Zeman slammed the statute’s removal, accusing Kolar’s council of abusing the current coronavirus crisis, according to a presidential spokesperson.
The Russian Embassy in Prague sent an official note to the Czech Foreign Ministry saying that “the dismantlement of the statue will not be left without the Russian side’s appropriate response.”
Last August, the statue was covered in red paint by unnamed vandals. Prague city hall then covered up the statue, but pro-Konev protesters tore down the tarp and held a rally in its support.
The monument was similarly abused many times before.
Konev led Red Army forces who retook much of Eastern Europe from German Nazi forces in World War II, and was part of the liberation of Berlin and Prague in 1945.
He later, however, led the crushing of the anti-Soviet 1956 Hungarian Uprising and prepared the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of what was then Czechoslovakia.
Marshal Kove statue was originally unveiled during the Victory Day celebrations on May 9, 1980.