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Historian: Bogus Polish Memorials in Russia May Have to Go

Russia should not leave the desecration of her War Memorials in Poland unanswered, says historian Dr Oleg Nazarov

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This article originally appeared at Narodny Politolog

This fall, Poland once again demonstrated its peculiar understanding of “civil behaviour”.

In accordance with a directive issued by Pieniężno town Mayor Kazimierz Cade, a bas-relief monument dedicated toBelorussian 3rd Front Army General Ivan Chernyakhovsky has been demolished. The General was in charge of disarming and apprehending Armia Krajowa attackers, who were shooting Russian soldiers from behind as they were liberating Poland and advancing west to Germany in 1944-45.

The monument was erected in the early 1970's at the location where the 38year old Chernyakhovsky, the youngest Front commander was fatally wounded and killed on Feb 18th, 1945. By ordering the destruction of this monument, Poland has followed the precedent set in Lithuania in 1992, when the city of Vilnius, whose citizens once welcomed Chernyakhovsky's army with flowers in 1944, removed their monument to him.

At that time, Russia made no formal response to the desecration.The monument in Vilnius was eventually relocated to Voronezh at the initiative of the city’s inhabitants, also freed from Nazi occupation by Chernyakhovsky's army in 1943.

In this latest case, the removal of the monument to Chernyakhovsky has brought a stern reaction from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with the Polish ambassador to Russia being summoned to provide an explanation.

Russia’s most widely circulated national daily “Komsomolskaya Pravda”, reported that incensed Kaliningrad residents proposed to remove the statue of great 19th century Polish composer Chopin in retaliation.

“Komsomolka” rightly stated that Chopin's monument should be left in place, although a firm response was certainly in order.

An appropriate retort could be based on these newest revelations:

Mednoe, in the Tver region is home to a Polish national memorial, where the remains of 6300 Polish officers allegedly executed by Stalin's NKVD in 1940 are buried. The Polish authorities rest their claims on the basis of 240 exhumed bodies, of which only 16 have been positively identified. This was also confirmed in an official memorandum of the Russian Ministry of Justice to the European Court of Human Rights in 2012.

Nevertheless, such “compelling evidence” persuaded Poland to build the Mednoe memorial. Interestingly, two Polish police officers were among those cited being buried there: Ludovik Iakubivich Moloveisky and Yozef Stepanovich Kyligovsky.

As it turns out, exhumations carried out in 2012 near the Ukrainian town of Vladimir-Volynsky by the Polish Council for the Commemoration of Victims of Struggle and Martyrdom discovered that the police officers mentioned were not shot in Tver in 1940 by the NKVD but by the Nazis in 1941 at the site of Vladimir Volynsky prison. The police ID tags of Kyligovsky (N. 1441) and Moloveisky (N. 1099) were unearthed at the location.

Mass executions were carried out at the site with German weapons firing German ammunition as typically used by German einsatz kommando groups.

Three years have passed since the discovery, yet Poland still adheres to the false claim that Kyligovsky and Moloveisky are supposedly buried in Mednoe.

As such, the time has now come to end this farce, to remove the bogus memorial plaques and return them to Poland. Subsequently, an investigation to determine who is actually buried in Mednoe can be conducted.

“Angry activists” in the Tverskoy region claim that there are no Polish victims buried in Mednoe and if this claim proves correct, the removal of plaques alone would not suffice. The entire Memorial Complex would have to be demolished.

A fitting and timely response to the removal of the monument commemorating General Chernyakhovsky.

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