Aleksandr Gaponenko: Open Letter to Czech President Miloš Zeman

Dear Mr. President,

On April 4th, a monument to the Hero of the Soviet Union, Marshal Ivan Stepanovich Konev – the military commander under whose command the Soviet troops liberated the capital of Czechoslovakia from the German invaders in may 1945 – was demolished in Prague.

The monument was dismantled by the order of the city authorities in a demonstrative and offensive manner. This happened in the framework of the campaign to fight against everything Soviet and Russian, which has long been going on in the Czech Republic.

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that on April 4th not only was a monument to the Soviet (Russian) military commander was destroyed, but also a symbol of all the winners of Nazism in Europe. An element from a series of material symbols that served to denazify those members of the Czech elite and nation who professed fascist ideas. This was done in accordance with the decision of the governments of the countries members of the anti-Hitler coalition.

According to international law, the demolition of the Konev monument means that the government in Prague refused to classify itself as a member of the anti-Hitler coalition and took the position of the President of the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia Emil Hácha, who positioned himself and his country as an ally of the Third Reich. During the years of “alliance” with the Third Reich, the protectorate authorities supplied the Germans with necessary military and civilian products, sent their citizens to them for forced labor, and took an active part in the extermination of Jews and Communists. Collaborators relied on the help of the Czech mass fascist party “People’s Brotherhood” and many other fascist parties and organisations. Part of the Czechs served as volunteers in the 44th Waffen SS motor infantry division “Wallenstein”.

Well, this is the choice of the current Czech authorities.

However, it should be understood that in this case, the Czech Republic must return to the borders of 1938 that the Third Reich established for it. Borders without the Sudetenland, which fell to Hitlerite Germany, and without the southern territories, which fell to Austria, without the Těšín region, which fell to Poland. Then the Czechs must compensate for the material losses of 3 million Germans and Hungarians, whom they deported with the knowledge and consent of the victors in World War II, according to the so-called Benes decrees. Then those who killed about 20,000 Germans and Hungarians being deported from the Czech Republic should be brought to justice. Then the reparations should be paid for the damage that the authorities of fascist Bohemia and Moravia inflicted on members of the anti-Hitler coalition.

You have the right to make that choice, Mr. President. You and the elite who support you. To recognise the validity of the Munich Agreements of September 1938. But would the ordinary citizens of the Czech Republic support you in this?

Aleksandr Gaponenko

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