Moscow wants the Polish authorities to find and bring to justice those responsible for acts of vandalism against graves of Soviet soldiers in western Poland, the Foreign Ministry of Russia said on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, 21 Soviet soldier graves that participated in the liberation of Poland from the Nazis were desecrated in a community cemetery in the Polish city of Jelenia Gora.
“It should be emphasized that [the incident] is not only a bad and offensive act by local hooligans, but a shameful consequence of Warsaw policies that caused falsifications of history, which gives rise to impunity and undermines values. We demand that they are found and brought to justice,” the ministry said in a statement.
In recent years Soviet memorials and graves have been repeatedly vandalized in Poland. The incidents have negatively affected relations between Warsaw and Moscow and raise serious concerns in Russia over the spread of neo-Nazi ideology in Poland.
In August 2016, the official website of the Russian Foreign Ministry said: ” We are outraged at the ongoing campaign in Poland against Soviet memorials related to the period of World War II. In late July and early August the Red Army soldier’s graveyard in Kielce (Swietokrzyskie) was twice desecrated.”
According to the ministry, contrary to the obligations laid down in the 1994 agreement between the governments of the two countries on places of remembrance of war victims, the Polish authorities have not informed the Russian side about the “barbaric” actions.
The ministry drew attention to the fact that “Poland’s repeated statements about the protection in the cemeteries of Red Army soldiers and officers are in fact indefensible.”
“There is an escalation in the country’s atmosphere of anti-Russian hysteria, promoted by vandals who are not afraid of the consequences of their actions against the Soviet memorials,” stressed the Russian Foreign Ministry.