12.01.2018 | 10:50 | Foreign Policy
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the letter earlier addressed to him by the Ambassadors of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia to the Czech Republic an “unnecessary step” in an open letter.
On December 22 the Embassy of Russian Federation in Czech Republic published a joint letter with Ambassadors of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia in one of social media expressing concern about the state of affairs caused by the monument of USSR marshal Ivan Konev erected in Prague.
If the reasoning for such a statement is clear in case of Russia, the same is not valid for Armenia.
5 Ambassadors against Prague-6
Prague 6 is the largest administrative district of the Czech capital Prague. Last month the authorities of this district decided to amend the biography next to the monument of marshal Ivan Konev. According to the Czech media the municipal authorities have approved the text of the monument where the “bloody pages” of marshal’s biography will be referred to as well. The authorities plan to add in the new inscription that “in autumn of 1956 marshal Konev was leading the bloody repression of the Hungarian uprising by the Soviet Union, and in 1961 in Berlin he partook in the cessation of the so called second Berlin crisis and construction of the Berlin wall.”
This is what aised concerns in the Russian Embassy and the Ambassadors other countries who signed under the statement including the Ambassador of Armenia to Czech Republic Tigran Seyranyan.
The Ambassadors who signed the letter claim that by this action the municipal authorities attempt “to belittle the significance of the monument which is a symbol of Prague inhabitants’ gratitude for the liberation.”
Why does this issue worry Armenia?
Russia has repeatedly argued the USSR victory in the Second World War against the fascist Germany in the political arena using this against Eastern and Central European countries. On the other hand RF often considers USSR victory in the Patriotic War as a tool for uniting former Soviet states on one common idea. This is discussed both on expert and political levels. It is in this context that anti-Soviet actions in any post-Soviet country receive negative response. This holds true for Poland, Ukraine and other Eastern and Central European countries. This also holds true for Armenia where the monument of Nzdeh is regarded as disrespect to the people killing in fighting against fascism by the Russian political circles. It is in this argumentation that the rationale of the letter issued by the Russian embassy should be viewed.
However, is there anything anti-Armenian in the decision of the municipal authorities of a sovereign country to present a more complete biography of a USSR hero? We think no. It is just that the Ambassador of Armenia to Czech has become a person serving the political interest of Russia by signing this letter expressing his support for a letter which has been signed by countries with no democratic values such as Azerbaijan, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
Czech MoFA has explained the five countries what democracy is
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Czech Republic Martin Stropnický’s response was quite exhaustive. In response to the concern raised by the Ambassadors of Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Belarus, the FA Minister has stated that his country “has deep esteem for all those who have fought against the Nazis, as well as for the victims of the latter including the warriors of all the nations of the Red Army” however the right to make decisions belongs to the Prague inhabitants and the local authorities elected by them.
“If you state that the monument to Konev is the symbol of gratitude of the Prague inhabitants, therefore the only possible decision is to give the opportunity to the Prague inhabitants and the representatives elected democratically to decide how the monument and its pedestal shall look,” the statement says.
In other words, the authorities of the Czech Republic pointed out to the Ambassadors that unlike those countries the independency of local authorities is respected In the Czech Republic. An idea, which the Ambassadors of Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Belarus seem not to grasp.
“Union of Informed Citizens”