Czech Foreign Ministry: Russia’s decision to file criminal charges over Konev statue inadmissible

Russia’s decision to file criminal charges over the recent removal of a statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev by the Prague 6 district authorities is inadmissible, the Czech Foreign Ministry said in a statement made available to the press.

The ministry pointed out that Russian legislation is not enforceable in the Czech Republic. It also rejected any attempts by Russia to intervene in the internal affairs of the Czech Republic.

The statue of the controversial marshal who liberated Prague in 1945, but also had an active role in crushing the Hungarian Uprising and building the Berlin Wall, has been at the centre of a diplomatic row between the two countries for some time.

Moscow sees the statue's removal as a diplomatic insult and a dangerous attempt to rewrite history.

The statue has aroused controversy in Prague where it was repeatedly vandalized with red paint on significant anniversaries.

The Prague 6 authorities voted to have it dismantled in order to prevent further controversy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a law that made damaging such memorials a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison.