Red Army memorials should disappear from public space says minister
The culture minister has demanded the removal of a monument of gratitude to the Red Army in a Polish northern city despite it having been made by a famous Polish sculptor.
The monument, currently known as the Liberation of the Warmia-Mazury Region Memorial and earlier called a monument of gratitude to the Red Army, was authored by Xawery Dunikowski, an outstanding Polish sculptor.
"Communist 'souvenirs' should be removed from the public space in accordance with Polish laws," Piotr Gliński told reporters at the monument in Olsztyn, northern Poland, on Monday.
"We expect the Olsztyn mayor to take 'a clear decision' concerning the memorial, known colloquially as 'the gallows' (likely due to the shape of the two main pillars - PAP)," Gliński said, adding that the decisions taken in this respect by appropriate institutions were unambiguous and clear.
Having described communism as the greatest evil in the history of mankind, Gliński also said that he could not understand the Olsztyn mayor, Piotr Grzymowicz, "who has been seeking legal loopholes in order not to do what should have been done."
If removed, the memorial would be handed over to a museum collecting communist symbols and artefacts, Gliński also said.
The Olsztyn mayor received a decision to remove the memorial from the Culture Ministry in May 2023. It upheld the same decision issued in January 2023 by the Warminsko-Mazurskie provincial governor.
The city of Olsztyn appealed against the decision in February 2023, having maintained that the memorial had been authored by an outstanding sculptor, and that it should not be removed but become part of a new museum designed as a warning against totalitarianism.
Recently Poland has dismantled a monument of gratitude to the Red Army in Głubczyce, in the southern part of the country, as part of the National Remembrance Institute's operations aimed at removing Soviet propaganda memorials from Poland.