A Museum that will explore the creation, rise and fall of totalitarian regimes in Czechoslovakia is coming to its capital city.
The initial exhibitions will focus on totalitarianism. And one infamous object has already been donated to the cause; the bronze statue of Soviet marshal Ivan Konev. The decision did not come without controversy.
The statue was pulled down from its plinth in April 2020, under backing from Mayor Ondřej Kolář and the Prague 6 administration. As Mayor Kolář described this move as “the imaginary last note in the etude that took place in 1980 in Bubenec”, Czech President Miloš Zeman’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček condemned the removal.
Ovčáček argues that pulling down the statue is an attempt to “erase the memory”, yet moving it to a museum will bring its history to public attention. Before its removal historian Petr Blažek, who has been recommended for the museum board, stated that: “It would be better if this discussion around the Konev statue took place in a museum, where it would be accompanied by contemporary film recordings of its unveiling [in 1980], ], as well as with a factography that would document marshal Konev’s personality in more detail.”
Plans to build a ‘Museum of 20th Century Memory’ were unanimously voted in by Prague’s City Council in September 2019. It was officially registered with the Court Registry on 17 November.
The United Force for Prague party has suggested Strahov Stadium, which would need to be repaired to the cost of CZK 1.2 billion.
Councillor Hana Kordová Marvanová, who authored the proposal, explained that the inspiration came from similar museums such as the Topography of Terror in Berlin, Warsaw Rising Museum in Poland, the Museum of the Second World War in Gdansk and Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
Although the coronavirus pandemic may have stilted plans, the plan is to open by the beginning of the municipal elections in 2022.