Moscow has issued a sharp protest over the vandalizing of a statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague which was spray painted with the dates 1956, 1961, 1968 and 2017 earlier this week. The Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the act as vandalism and an insult to those who had laid down their lives in the liberation of Czechoslovakia.
The incident happened shortly after an offensive article appeared on a Russian web which said the Czech Republic should be grateful for the 1968 Soviet-led invasion which had brought the country 20 years of peace and stability. On a state visit to Russia, President Zeman protested against the insult to his country and Russian Prime Minister Medvedev publicly distanced himself from the article.
Marshal Konev is perceived as a controversial figure in the Czech Republic. After being present on several fronts in WWII, Konev was involved in the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and was also present in Berlin for the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.