"Russia summons Polish ambassador to protest removal of Soviet era statue"
Russia summoned Poland's ambassador on Thursday to protest at the removal of a Soviet-era statue in a Polish town on the 76th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland, highlighting increased tensions between the neighbours. Katarzyna Pelczynska-Nalecz, Warsaw's envoy in Moscow, was called to the Russian Foreign Ministry to explain the dismantling on Thursday of a statue of Soviet General Ivan Chernyakhovsky in the Polish town of Pieniężno. Chernyakhovsky was the youngest ever general in the Red Army and a decorated commander in its massive westward advance on Nazi Germany that helped end World War Two. He was killed in action at age 38 in February 1945. Pelczynska-Nalecz said after the meeting that the Russian side objected to the statue's removal and asked for the process to stop. "I listened to it, I presented the Polish position on the issue that the whole process is 100 percent according to Polish law," Pelczynska-Nalecz told journalists.The Pieniężno monument is quite a handsome example of seventies socrealism. The monument is not being destroyed, just removed from its present situation. Chernyakhovsky has negative press in Poland due to his repressions of the ''Home Army" partisans (who owed allegiance to the government-in-exile) in the effort to place a Soviet-supported government in power (here's a Russian view, one man's 'occupation' is another's 'liberation').
The big question is what the monument is doing still standing in a Polish town. Most of them went in 1989-90. Even the last surviving Warsaw one I knew of (hidden and forgotten in a bush right in the town centre) has now gone after surviving more than two decades. The bush has gone too. Soviet war memorials and military cemeteries are a different matter, there are many here still and are carefully monitored and conserved, as is only right.