Comment by the Information and Press Department on Polish plans to exhume remains of Soviet soldiers buried in Starachowice

Friday, 16 March 2018 12:01

We have learned that Polish authorities are planning to exhume the remains of Soviet soldiers buried in Starachowice in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship and to reinter them in a military cemetery in Kielce.

Obviously, the intention here is not to properly honour the memory of Soviet soldiers killed in January 1945 while liberating Poland and the Poles from Nazi invaders.

To justify the reinternment of their remains, Polish authorities claim that they are allegedly unable to protect the Starachowice memorial from recurring acts of vandalism. This explanation is amazingly cynical. First, the authorities create a favourable media background for vandals’ actions, and then they claim that they are unable to stop them. The example of Starachowice shows that, despite all official assurances, even military cemeteries are not safe from vandalism in Poland.

We would like to recall that Article 5 of the 1994 bilateral inter-governmental agreement on burial sites and sites commemorating victims of wars and repression allows the reinternment of human remains in a state where they are buried only in exceptional cases. The situation in Starachowice can by no means be seen as exceptional. No one has the right to disturb the resting places of soldier-liberators. We are urging Polish authorities to resume civilised approaches towards the sensitive war memorials issue.

On March 16, 2018, Polish Ambassador in Moscow Włodzimierz Marciniak was summoned to the Foreign Ministry whose representatives lodged a protest in connection with the planned exhumation in Starachowice. The Russian Ambassador in Warsaw Sergey Andreyev has been instructed to visit the Polish Foreign Ministry and to demand an end to such illegal actions.

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