The Dispute Around the Soviet Monuments in Contemporary Poland

    • Belgrade 2017
    • Presentation speakers
      • Karolina Baraniak, University of Wroclaw, Poland


    At the end of March, 2016, the then President of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance Łukasz Kamiński announced the launch of a nationwide project, which will remove Soviet monuments of Polish public places and transfer them to a special museum. It’s about more than 500 monuments, which commemorate the soldiers of Red Army, who died during the firing Polish lands in 1944-45. To a large extent they were placed by the Red Army and were not the effect of spontaneous actions of the Poles. Łukasz Kamiński explained, that „[…] leaving the memorials is a consequence of not finished transformation with the beginning of the 1990s. It was a fatal mistake that for years gives the fuel used in propaganda and provocations against Poland […]”. The proposed project does not apply to the cemeteries of Soviet soldiers or monuments on such cemeteries. Also the commemoration – under which – or in their immediate vicinity – were buried died during World War II, soldiers dead during World War II – will remain untouched. The declaration of Kaminski has sparked sharp opposition from Russia, resulting, inter alia, the call of the Polish Ambassador to the Kremlin. It also launched the dispute among Poles. The part of the Poles claims that Soviet monuments should stay in their places as witnesses of history and warnings before the war. Others argue that the Soviet monuments remind that the Soviet Union has brought Poland a Socialist regime, along with its economy, and political incapacitation.