A monument dedicated to Soviet Red Army soldiers stands on the grounds of a warehouse in the Polish town of Legnica, where the monument is being mothballed, on March 24, 2018. AFP / JANEK SKARZYNSKI
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For nearly 70 years, an imposing monument to Soviet Red Army soldiers dominated a central square in the southwestern Polish town of Legnica. Known as Little Moscow, Legnica hosted the largest Soviet military base in Poland during the Cold War.Although the Soviet Union drove Nazi German forces out of occupied Poland toward the end of World War II, Moscow went on to impose its own brand of totalitarianism until the communist regime collapsed in 1989 .Under the 2016 law, the PiS government put the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), a body responsible for prosecuting Nazi and communist-era crimes, in charge of removing around 300 monuments nationwide.Dozens of communist monuments still stand across Poland, which has long been a European Union and NATO member, and their removal has rankled Russia.Several statements by lower-level Russian officials have accused Poland of ingratitude as well as disrespecting Red Army soldiers.The PiS government is also working on a new draft law which would demote communist-era generals, some posthumously.
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