N Deník (Czech Republic): “war is for us a fundamental theme, and you can’t help it. Novotny obliged Konev that I was born,” says the Professor

Russian schoolgirl Carolina Black child wearing a military uniform, but the shoes she despised. With bare feet she stood on the wooden boards hammered into them with nails. She is 11 years old. She was able to stand on nails hour and 17 minutes. His record she dedicated to veterans of the great Patriotic war. According to Russian academician and political technologist Oleh Solodukhina, sometimes victory celebration takes absurd forms. But the conflict over the demolition of the monument to Konev in Prague 6 and he believes the result of provocation from the Czech side.

Deník N: do you feel that an appropriate way to honor the memory of the great event chose schoolgirl Carolina Black?

Oleg Solodukhin: every idea and every movement can be reduced to an absurdity. This is typical of the postmodern era, when one world goes, and the other has not yet come when any rules, traditions or values lose their absolute character. Unfortunately, this is what happens with the celebration of Victory Day.

— On Friday, the Russian defense Ministry published a new, previously secret documents about the liberation of Prague Marshal Konev, from behind the monument which has dramatically worsened relations between the Czech Republic and Russia. Do not you think that the commentary on recently published archival materials is not entirely true. For example, it says that the Prague battles were fought all the ninth of may, and we know that the Red army occupied the city almost without fighting?

— It seems. Although, on the other hand, that, in fact, be considered a fight? If the breaking resistance of separate foci of unorganized groups to consider the fight, then such a collision really occurred. This fact is proved by documents.

— Konev became the subject of serious dispute between Moscow and Prague. Is there any guilty in this situation who, as they say, began?

— Those who have organised the demolition of the monument to Marshal Konev, was well aware of what the reaction of the Russian side. Russia is very sensitive to everything connected with the great Patriotic war with the victory over Nazi Germany.

— Speaking of “Russia” you mean the Russian political leadership and Russian society?

And then, and more. All. In this case, the leadership of the country expresses the opinion and feelings of the vast majority of people. For us, the Russian victory in the Holy war. This narrative brings together the entire Russian people.

— So you admit that Konev in Prague will stand in the street Julius Fuchika in Moscow in front of the Windows of the Czech Embassy, as proposed by the Russian Communists?

— I think it’s unlikely. The only thing I know, it is the interest of Kaliningrad. Sergei Shoigu proposed to move the monument to Russia, but the exact place is not mentioned. But regardless of what will become of the monument, its removal from the square of international Brigade in Prague was a mistake. Due to the deterioration of Russian-Czech relations, and given the role that Konev played in the Second world war, including the liberation of Prague.

But Marshal Konev entered the liberated Prague…

We can argue about what it means “liberation”. The liberation of Prague in fact began with the battle of Moscow in 1941. With the first real defeat of the land forces of Nazi troops in the Second world war. Yes, when Soviet troops entered the city, the Wehrmacht was no longer there. But there remained scattered around the city part of the SS division “Reich” and “Wallenstein”.

But if the red army did not go to Prague, do you think the Germans would have surrendered in your capital? No. They would spend the bloody action in the Warsaw style. And truly heroic Prague uprising, which occupies in history a place of honor, would become one of the most tragic events. It is the red army offensive forced the Germans to leave Prague. And not only. The fact that the Red army allowed the Germans to leave the city, played a fundamental role, and it essentially saved Prague. Events could unfold quite differently. Therefore, the merit of Konev at the liberation of Prague is undeniable, even direct combat in this case was not. When the enemy retreats in front of you and you don’t even have to meet him, it is also a liberation.

By the way, I wouldn’t mind if you put up a monument (to the marshals) Malinowski and Eremenko.

But all of that war memorials are stupid and pathetic. It’s one thing when the people want (in 1991 demolished the monument to Dzerzhinsky in Moscow or in 1918, the Marian column on old town square). And quite another matter — a planned action of the politicians. The monument is the symbol of its time and a reminder of their time. And this is its value.

— Perhaps the Czech side could be a little more understanding and was ready to a kind of compromise, if the Russian side together with the recognition of Konev would recognize the dark pages of his biography. Even before the dismantling of the monument hung a sign with the explanatory text, which focuses on the participation of Marshal in the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and in preparation of the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968. To leave a memorial with a sign, in your opinion, would be a more appropriate option than to remove him?

— Signs that the leadership of Prague 6 was placed under a monument of the Marshal was not until the end truthful and accurate. In Hungary people were abused, and it fully justifies the decision to invade.

But why the Soviet Union intervened in events in another state?

— Soviet army stopped the civil war. Another question, how far would you go with the accusations against Konev. After all, he was the Marshal who was simply following orders. Today we all assessed differently, but he was a soldier and had to obey.

The Hungarian uprising

The Soviet Union (armed forces, including tanks) to suppress the uprising against the Stalinist dictatorship and Soviet occupation. The uprising lasted from 23 October until the tenth of November 1956. The Communist government concealed the number of deaths, but according to assumptions, there were thousands of them.

The operation plan of the Minister of defense Marshal Zhukov, approved by Soviet leader Khrushchev and Ambassador to Hungary, Andropov, commanded by Marshal Ivan Stepanovich Konev, the former commander of the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact.

The same as in 1956, in 1961 there occurred in Berlin, when American and Soviet tanks had lined up against each other and stood with their engines on. It Konev helped to prevent a crisis worse than the Caribbean. There he was sent to Moscow, because he was familiar with the American command and they trusted.

When the elder Reporyje Novotny jump and defy Konev’s last words, he does not realize that offends the memory of man, which he twice saved the life. This man gave him the opportunity to be born. Honestly, such a show, with Novotny on the TV channel “Barrandov”, disgust me.

— Konev and participation in the invasion of Czechoslovakia?

— In the spring of 1968 he arrived in Czechoslovakia with propaganda mission, and about any espionage operations out of the question. Such meetings were held before and after were the norm in relations between the socialist countries. Conflict, bloated around Konev, I consider it a provocation.

Our countries have long there are some differences, but never, really never, they didn’t argue about the year 1945. Yes, historians have asked about the details. There are different points of view on individual events, but a serious conflict between Prague and Moscow over 1945 has not happened. Still.

For a long time Moscow did not react sharply. Even tablets did not cause hypersensitive reactions. Therefore, your policy went further and decided to demolish the monument. And again, from our side there has been a response. Finally, during the quarantine, the monument was taken. And invent a story with the ricin… and now with saxitoxin.

— Invent? You know about it something more?

— I just don’t believe it. Immediately after this news released a statement by four experts in the field of Czech foreign policy led by General Paul and former Ambassador to Russia and the United States Colorum (the father of the mayor of Prague 6 ondřej Kolář — approx. ed.) then followed a statement of your Parliament. The conflict escalates. Obviously the desire to keep people’s attention on this topic. I used to work as a political technologist and assume that the situation is developing in a specific scenario. However, my Czech friends convince me it’s not that you “not do” that I have a professional deformation. Nevertheless, I still hold that point of view.

— You want to say that there is an “operation Konev” and that someone is coordinating from afar?

— I think so. This is a managed process…

And what is the purpose?

— First of all, for all that is happening, you should always look for money. And then stake the nuclear industry, the interests of other countries, the banking sector and other sectors. We are talking about strategic investments in the Czech economy. This is only my assumption. And I’m not judging this fight interests. The use of information weapons is a usual part of any policy.

— But the standard policy does not involves sending the agent ricin in another country.

— The final denouement of this story there. I can only Express my guess: no man with ricin or saxitoxin does not exist. Rather, I believe that landed flying saucer with aliens.

— However, there were people with poison “Beginner”, as well as people with radioactive polonium, who came to kill in the UK. Why not be the person with ricin, which came to kill in Prague?

— First, the history with Skripal I think successful fiction, which was produced by the same people who are now “working” on the events in Prague.

Second, the tactics of individual terror, the Communist party denounced before the revolution. I never served in the security services and not specializers on them, however with a certain degree of awareness can say that Russian intelligence never made attempts on foreigners.

In addition, since 1923 the Soviet and Russian intelligence does not conduct such actions under diplomatic cover.

By the way, in Russia we have a rule that state bodies do not deal with anonymous threats. I thought that you have in the Czech Republic in the same way. But the Czech media write that the source of this information was anonymous.

— Hence, “his” kill is allowed, but “foreign” is too dangerous…

— Not so. They can “get” to criminals. Criminals. Those who broke the law.

— You say that the Great Patriotic war for the Russians “sacred”. But isn’t it time to remove the rose-colored glasses through which you view your own story? It is not only the heroic pages. Was not only brave and honest soldiers. There have been rape and looted the village… Maybe if Russia more objectively looking at our own history, we too would be more understanding. Unconditional glorification of their own history alien to the Czechs and we doubt.

— Any country for its own existence required a positive historical examples. Therefore, the Czechs have created an idealized image of the First Republic. The past must unite all people of a particular region. War is the common historical memory. In a positive sense. For you something similar in importance to the Great Patriotic war is 1968. This is not a topic for discussion. Is still alive the historical memory.

Similarly, the war for us is not yet a historical force and a living part of our memory. You also have to admit that we suffered from the war incomparably more than you. For us, the war remains alive pain. And any attacks on our most sensitive point, we consider a sacrilege and perceived very painful. For me, the demolition of the monument to Konev is like the desecration of a monument to his own grandfather. And so for most Russians. It’s pure emotion. War is a fundamental theme, and you can’t help it.

— So, we just do not agree, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

I do not know. It will take another few generations.

— You lived for many years in Czechoslovakia and in the Czech Republic. And still you do not understand that what you call liberation, many believe the beginning of a new repression?

Why don’t you know? Understand. And not only that. I even understand why this is so. I’d like to respond to you in a broader context. The fact that Europe was divided in Yalta is a historical myth. In Yalta, it was about the future of Germany and Poland. About Czechoslovakia there was not a word. Just you was already part of the Soviet sphere of influence. A document to this effect was signed in December 1943. Benes then told Molotov that will coordinate foreign policy with the Soviet Union. Benes had already survived the “Munich trauma” and, of course, looking for strong and reliable ally. Including why he gave the Soviet Union of Subcarpathian Ruthenia. So Czechoslovakia chose what he chose. And long before the war ended. In the end, the Communists won you without any Soviet intervention.

— Do you concede that the Soviet Union is to blame for the outbreak of the Second world war?

— In spite of all the openness to which I aspire, I belong to the generation of Soviet people. I am a Soviet man who received a Soviet education. And there are things that I probably never will depart, and perhaps I won’t be able to go beyond some boundaries. So I insist that the USSR in the Second world war had not started.

— It is strange. We belong to the same generation, and my school taught the same thing you are. But today I don’t think the USSR was the only victim. I see that the Soviet Union was involved in the outbreak of the Second world war.

— Probably you were not the evolutionary path that I do. Yes, to some sensitive issues, I am rather emotionally than rationally. But this does not prevent me to say that the Second world war began the Munich agreement.

You also have your untouchable topics. I love this funny Czech narrative “for us without us.” In Munich, too, everything was solved “about you without you.” In Yalta decided “about you without you.” In 1948, in your internal Affairs intervened, the Soviet Union, and again you are not to blame. In 1968, you screwed it up again, the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. But the Czechs never to blame. Only the Czech dissidents remember that those who were tried and sent to prison, was not Russian, and Czech.

— You want to say that our national characteristics are not attributed the will to fight and determination?

— You are a typical petty bourgeois in the best sense of the word. You are hard on yourself responsibility for the fate of the state, preferring the responsibility for the fate of his own family. Tradesmen adapt. Always. I think it’s normal, even the right attitude to live for the good of their family. State, party, ideals and ideas — all this is less important. Actually, this is normal society. More normal than that based on some very lofty ideals. As The Kampuchea Of Pol Pot.

— The theme of the great Patriotic war for President Putin is one of the main. Hence, it is also responsible for the fact that in Russian society has not begun the discussion about dark pages of Soviet victory?

— Putin is able to fantastically capture the mood of the people. It not only shapes public opinion but also expressing it. It is his face. Putin also expressed the General opinion of Russians, the majority opinion on many historical points.

But this does not mean that we have not engaged in discussion. For example, among teachers there are different opinions. Historians and journalists are heated debate about the different views on the Great Patriotic war. You know, in history there is always room for interpretation. This confirms, for example, the battle of Borodino.

— Do you also think that the misunderstanding between Moscow and Prague, mainly to blame the media?

Media is not to blame. They only reflect the mood in society. I am not a fan of the Russian media, and Czech too. I remember one exceptionally sharp article published on the server of the TV channel “Zvezda” (the channel of the Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation — approx. ed.). It said that in 1968, not only was nothing wrong, but, more than that, you should be grateful. Subsequently, your President Zeman expressed his indignation at it, and the article was removed.

You know, I don’t understand these revisionist attempts on our part in respect of 1968. Honestly, I do not understand. I am a principled opponent of the invasion, and I was and remain a supporter of socialism with a human face.

But it is also necessary to say that in the last year in a more or less official media revisionist articles we have published.

— But it was published…

— The official position against the introduction of troops in Czechoslovakia does not change, and don’t condone it. Attempts to revise this position began in 2010, when he published the book “the Czechoslovak events through the eyes of the KGB and MVD”.

Please note that Russia does not want to recognize the members of the operation are veterans of fighting, as no large-scale hostilities have not unfolded. However, Ukraine and Kazakhstan still adopted the law on veterans, to which is attributed, in particular, members of the operation in Czechoslovakia. But I never heard any complaints with the Czech side to address these countries.

But of course, you understand that there is something like “postkrymsky escalation”, which provoked the deterioration of relations between Russia and a number of States.

Not quite. I can not help thinking that it is coordinated by the deterioration of relations. Why for no reason at all in 2015, Czech media raised the issue of alleged multiple rape of Czech women by Soviet soldiers? I remember a reported case of rape, for which the commander himself shot their soldier. For me it is rather a proof that the Soviet commander tried to keep their parts of the procedure. I think you are somehow late in the development. Other countries have already gone through this in the 90s.

The problem is in the fact that you are looking for allies among the Czechs, to say the least, without a decent reputation.

— I agree. With friends like you Russia needs no enemies.

— Do you see any way for the normalization of relations between our countries? And what role reconciliation can play a monument to Konev? Where would you put it?

— First of all, take out Konev Russia — does not mean to compromise. This would lead to deep division and dissatisfaction from the Russian side. We need to find him a new place in the Czech Republic.

Exit I see in mutual empathy. In the CR increasingly, Russians are portrayed as bad people, to tarnish their image. While in the Czech Republic permanently resident 36 thousand Russian. We have the same social networks are increasingly described the idea of “collective responsibility” of the Czechs for the actions of politicians, which is not the highest state posts. I really thought a lot about why the Czechs managed to forgive the Germans 1939 — 1945, and the Russian does not want to forgive 1968. In addition, 1968 for you — an open wound, and the German occupation part of the story.

We are different and need to understand it. None of us is the bearer of absolute truth. Opinion about some of the episodes will probably remain with us forever different. Remember the battle of Borodino. Who won it? The French think they are, and we are convinced that the victory was on our side.

— Maybe a compromise would be Olshansky burial of the fallen soldiers?

— Wants a family Konev. But I do not like this idea. One is the monument in honor of the victory, and the other — the burial of the fallen soldiers. Seems a bit contradictory. I wouldn’t put him on the territory of the Embassy. If it gets put in a Museum, Moscow won’t like it either. You can find a place somewhere in Prague.

— Why Konev cannot stand on the square named after Boris Nemtsov?

— He could stand on the Siberian area. It may be a compromise. Also from our side needs to be fixed the mistakes we made against monuments to the Czechoslovak legionaries. Moreover, despite the fact that our assessment of Legionnaires completely different from yours.

However, our opinions differ not only about foreign players. I wonder how the Russian press has not yet returned to life the theme of Czech industry and its service to the Wehrmacht. Nowhere in your sources I have not found complete data on how much and what in the days of the protectorate you have made and sent to the Germans. I do not believe that the German and the Czech tendency to order and documenting this important stage was left without attention. And no accident on 25 April the Americans bombed the factory “Skoda”.

— You want me to answer with blow blow and implying that we are also hiding a shameful part of its history?

I do not know. But to be proud of here exactly nothing.

But the collaboration involved not only the Czechs.

Yes, but you have to admit that in the Soviet Union, which was occupied by the Germans, the degree of collaboration remains unexplored. Their collaborators, we know very little. Such things must be made public, so does not appear unnecessary speculation.

— As, for example, about Vlasov.

— First, Vlasov betrayed the Soviet Union, then the Germans, then a little war on the side of the Czechs against the Germans, but, realizing that the Czechs will not help them, spat on you and walked away from Prague, to get to the Americans.

— That is a plaque in Reporyje they don’t deserve it?

— I don’t think this is the right step. It smacks of political self-promotion. As a political technologist, I understand that, but there are some frameworks which you can’t leave. I can understand ordinary soldiers-deserters. But the General? When a person becomes a professional soldier, he should know that his duty is to protect the homeland. Vlasov was as much a scoundrel as your moravec. Therefore, the Vlasov deserve the cross over the grave, but not a monument. They deserve the memory, but not glory.