The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has proposed that Prague and Moscow enter into a dialogue on the protection of monuments in order to prevent a further deterioration of relations between the two countries.
The statement comes amid an escalating diplomatic row over the removal of a divisive statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev from its site in Prague 6, which Moscow claims to have violated the 1993 treaty between the two countries. Russia has filed criminal charges over the statue’s removal.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has dismissed the accusation saying that the 1993 treaty only commits both sides to the dignified treatment of each other’s monuments and their protection from damage.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček recently said that the Czech Republic is ready to negotiate handing over the statue to Russia, if there is interest in such a solution. He emphasized that the decision of the Prague 6 district authorities to remove the statue from its premises was the Czech Republic’s internal affair.
The statue of the controversial marshal who liberated Prague in 1945, but also had an active role in crushing the Hungarian Uprising and building the Berlin Wall, has been at the centre of a diplomatic row between the two countries for some time.