Prague 6 authorities order Konev statue to be covered up

The Prague 6 authorities have ordered that the statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev be covered up and hidden behind scaffolding.They say it is the easiest and cheapest way of protecting it against vandalism.

The controversial statue has repeatedly been vandalized with spray paint in the past, most recently on the anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, sparking controversy between Prague and Moscow.

The local authorities in Prague 6 have been pushing for the statue to be moved to the grounds of the Russian embassy in Prague, and refused to clean it up when it was last sprayed with red paint, saying the act reflected the feelings of the public.

Marshal Konev is perceived as a controversial figure in the Czech Republic. Although he helped liberate the country from Nazi oppression, he was also involved in the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.