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Soviet general Ivan Koněv stripped of Prague honorary citizenship

ivan-konev

Prague, Czech Republic – Soviet Marshall Ivan Koněv will be stripped of his honorary citizenship of Prague, according to a document approved by municipal councilors this week.

Koněv led Red Army troops during the liberation of Prague from Nazi occupation in 1945 and was hailed as a key architect of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany throughout decades of communism.

But the Soviet general also played an instrumental role in the repression of democratic aspirations in Eastern bloc countries during the Cold War.

As the first Supreme Commander of the Warsaw Pact, he led Red Army forces in Budapest to crush the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, oversaw the construction of the Berlin Wall in the early 1960s, and played a key role in the invasion and occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

The Prague City Assembly still needs to approve the decision to strip him of his honorary citizenship, which he received in June 1945.

This is not the first time Koněv has been at the heart of a controversy in Prague.

Two years ago, Prague 6 authorities voted to remove a statue of the Soviet Marshall located in the Bubeneč district, sparking tensions with Russia where Koněv is celebrated as a hero and whose remains are buried in the Kremlin.

Local Czech authorities argued that portraying Koněv as the liberator of Prague isn’t historically accurate – considering the city was already almost entirely cleared of Nazi forces following the Prague uprising – and that the arrival of Soviet troops only marked the replacement of old oppressors with new ones.

City councilors also highlight his decision to bomb the city of Mladá Boleslav, central Bohemia, on May 9, 1945, one day after the end of the war, leading to the death of nearly 150 civilians.

A few days after the statue’s definitive removal in 2020, a group of Russian protesters attacked the Czech embassy in Moscow and threw smoke bombs on its premises in protest.

There are also plans to rename the Koněvova street in Prague’s Žižkov district.