“Pomník Rudoarmějce” (Monument to Red Army Soldier), also known as “Pomník osvobození Rudou armádou” (Monument of liberation by the Red Army) is an interesting monument in the Central Bohemian city of Kladno, that was built in 1949 to commemorate the liberation of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Army at the end of the Second World War. The 2.8-meter (9 foot) tall figural statue of a Red Army soldier stands on a high granite pedestal and is flanked on both sides by granite blocks, five on the left and one on the right.
Made by academic sculptor Jan Kavan, this statue is a fine example of socialist realism in Czechoslovakia. A Red Army soldier with binoculars around his neck, who is familiarly called by locals as “Alyosha”, is holding a bouquet of lilacs in his uplifted left hand, while his right hand is placed on a Soviet submachine gun. The horizontal inscription “VÁŠ PŘÍCHOD, NAŠE SVOBODA” (“YOUR ARRIVAL, OUR FREEDOM”) is written on the four lying granite blocks on the left side of the statue.
The appearance of the monument has been slightly changed over time. The hammer and sickle with a five-pointed red star had originally stood on the leftmost block. The monument also included flagpoles with the Czechoslovak and the Soviet flags, although later (during the 1970s and 1980s) only Soviet flags were hung there.
The monument was ceremoniously unveiled on November 6, 1949, in presence of the Minister of the Interior Václav Nosek. Representatives of the Soviet Embassy and Soviet Army officers were also present during the event. The monument then served as a place of regular strengthening of Czechoslovak-Soviet friendship—one of the symbolic acts of that time is connected with the statue, namely the laying of wreaths, but the monument also served as a site of protests against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. The statue was originally erected on the Edvard Beneš Square (formerly Jan Šverma Square) near the city center, but it was temporarily removed after the Velvet Revolution and the fall of communism in Czechoslovakia.
In 1990, the statue of a Red Army soldier was re-installed in a quieter and less frequented place in Svépomoc locality, despite the protests from some residents. Every year on May 9, people lay red flowers at the foot of the statue.
Know Before You Go
Pomník Rudoarmějce is located in U Křížku Neighbourhood (Kladno-Kročehlavy), just 80 meters north from the crossroads of Milady Horákové Street and Dr. Foustky Street. The monument is easily accessible by public transportation. The 605 bus line will take you to the Svépomoc bus stop on Milady Horákové Street. Around the monument is a small park with trees, shrubs and roses.