Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
29th January, 2016
The producer of the Polish television channel TVP, Marek Czunkiewicz, apologized for the behaviour of the presenter during her interview with the Minister of Culture of Russia Vladimir Medinsky. He sent the office a letter in which he promised to strengthen controls over the work of journalists. “Lenta.ru” reported this on Friday, January 29th, quoting the press service of the Ministry of Culture.
“We prepared as well as possible and in good faith. Unfortunately, there is a human weakness to which we have no control. This will be a reason to change our approach to our business,” wrote Czunkiewiczh.
Vladimir Medinsky appeared on Polish television on January 27th on the Studio Wschód programme. He was interviewed by the famous TV presenter, Maria Przełomiec. The main topic of conversation was the desecration and destruction of monuments of Soviet soldiers in Poland, and plans to demolish the monument dedicated to General Ivan Chernyakhovsky.
“With the cemeteries, clearly, they are entitled to respect. But what about the monuments — why can Russia not understand that for the poles they do not represent liberators, and are imposed on them by power?” — The presenter asked Medinsky. “I’m afraid that if it were not for these 600 thousand Soviet soldiers who died liberating Poland, there would be no Poland and poles today. In Germany they did not imply the existence of the Polish nation or the state”, — said the Minister.
“What do you think about the monument to General [Chernyakhovsk], who killed the leaders of the Army?” — asked Przełomiec. “He never killed the leaders of the Army,” retorted Medinsky. “But he killed my grandfather!” — exclaimed the host. “Shot with a pistol?” — said the head of the Ministry of Culture. “No, was arrested in the village of Bedniki. Unfortunately, Mr. Minister, our time is coming to an end,” replied the reporter. Medinsky added that General Chernyakhovsky did not give any order to the squad leaders of the home Army, but Przełomiec did not want to hear the rest of his historical background.
In addition, the television presenter said to the Minister that in Smolensk a monument to the victims has still not been errected of the crash in 2010 that killed President Lech Kaczynski and other senior officials of the country. Medinsky explained that in April of last year, his Department had written a letter to Polish colleagues in which he proposed to discuss this question, but a reply did not come.
Soviet monuments and graves of soldiers in Poland have been defiled repeatedly. For example, in November 2015, unknown people moved the gravestones in the cemetery of the city of Garwolin, removing two military nameplates, a wooden cross was also pulled out of the earth. In connection with this incident the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the adviser-envoy of Poland in Russia, who strongly protested.
In addition, in September last year, in a Polish village Milejczyce, red stars placed on the graves of Soviet soldiers were smashed to pieces.
Poland occupies first place in Europe in number of cases of vandalism against Soviet and Russian monuments.