Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Prague-Řeporyje will build monument to the fallen "Vlasovci"

Prague Daily Monitor |
11 December 2019

Řeporyje local council passed a bill in which the city will build a monument to the fallen "Vlasovci," which died fighting during the final days of the Second World War during the Prague Uprising.

The “Vlasovci,” are named after the leader and founder of the Russian Liberation Army General Andrej Andrejovich Vlasov. Vlasov himself was an interesting persona. Joining the Red Army in 1920 during the Russian Revolution, he stayed in the army into the Second World War. During the war he fought in the Battle of Moscow and was captured while trying to lift the siege of Leningrad, originally and now called St. Petersburg. When captured by the Nazis he defected and spent much time convincing the Germans to let him create the Russian Liberation Army, to fight against Stalin.

After one battle in 1945, Vlasov turned on the Nazis, joining the Prague Uprising. During the Prague Uprising about 300 “Vlasovci” were killed in fighting. They played some vital roles in and around the city, especially in stopping the Germans from hiding in Prague, which would have led to more killings and greater destruction of the city. Mr. Vlasov himself tried to make a run for the Western front but was captured by the Soviets and hanged in 1946.

The questions about which part the “Vlasovci” played in the liberation of Prague, to what extent, and their motivation is a topic of much discussion. The role of Russians and the Red Army under command of a Georgian Dictator is perhaps one of the most controversial topics in modern Czech history. The monument to the fighters has attracted the attention of the Russian Consulate and the Russian Diplomatic, the later claiming that it is a monument promoting Nazism. The major Pavel Novotny (ODS), many residents, a SPD politician, and a prorussian activist all held strong emotions at the press conference, the discussion went on for over an hour. The major was even challenged to hold a referendum on the matter, which she refused.

Next year is the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and all should remember that division is what caused the horrendous acts of the war.