Poland removes Red Army memorials as Russia wages war in Ukraine

The Polish government has moved to dismantle four more monuments to the Soviet Red Army in various locations around the country, saying they symbolised a system that is still part of the Russian mindset and that contributed to Moscow’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

Karol Nawrocki, CEO of Polands state-run Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), meets reporters at a ceremony to dismantle a Red Army memorial in the southwestern town of Głubczyce, on Thursday, October 27, 2022.

Karol Nawrocki, CEO of Poland’s state-run Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), meets reporters at a ceremony to dismantle a Red Army memorial in the southwestern town of Głubczyce, on Thursday, October 27, 2022. PAP/Krzysztof Świderski

The monuments were removed on Thursday as part of a drive led by the state-run Institute for National Remembrance (IPN), Polish state news agency PAP reported.

‘These monuments should have disappeared a long time ago’

The IPN’s CEO Karol Nawrocki told reporters: “These memorials should have disappeared from the Polish cityscape a long time ago because they deconstruct our consciousness and distort our understanding of history.”

Głubczyce, Byczyna, Bobolice, Staszów

IPN officials told reporters that Red Army monuments were dismantled on Thursday in the southwestern towns of Głubczyce and Byczyna, in the northwestern town of Bobolice, and at a site near the southeastern town of Staszów.

‘We are determined to remove all communist monuments’

Nawrocki attended the removal ceremony in Głubczyce, telling the audience that Red Army monuments were „incompatible with Polish law,” which, under rules introduced in 2016, prohibits the promotion of totalitarian systems „through names given to local-government agencies, public facilities and memorials.”

 “We want to send a clear message that we are determined in our efforts to remove all monuments that celebrate the communist system,” Nawrocki said.   

’Communist system lives on in today’s Russia’

Nawrocki said that the Głubczyce memorial represented a symbol of the system that “together with Adolf Hitler, started World War II, the most tragic conflict in the history of the world,” and then “colonised half of Europe, including Poland.”

He added: “It’s also a symbol of the system whose spirit lives on in today’s Russia and is responsible, in the realm of values and mentality, for the deaths of Ukrainians in the 21st century.”

‘These monuments symbolise the evils of communism’

Nawrocki told the PAP news agency that „all these monuments symbolise the evils of communism.”

He said: „Poland is a free and independent country, not a Russian colony, not a part of the Russian imperial system.”

He added: “It’s not about the form of such relicts, but about their content. Around 30 of them remain in Poland.” 

Thursday was day 246 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

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Source: PAPniezalezna.plipn.gov.pl

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