In Russia, it’s taboo to discuss crimes committed by the former Soviet Union’s Red Army as it swept westward across Europe to conquer Nazi Germany.
The “deeply outraged” Russian ambassador to Poland is demanding Warsaw make it taboo in his host country as well.
The international incident was sparked by the decision of artist Jerzy Bohdan Szumczyk, a 26-year-old fifth-year art student, to display a life-size concrete statue next to a Soviet tank in one of the city parks of Gdansk. There were two problems with his gift to the northern port city — its night-time placement was not authorized and the subject matter.
Depicted is the rape of a pregnant woman by a Red Army soldier — he identifiable by his helmet. The shocking statue has the soldier atop the woman, her legs splayed and he holding her by the hair with his left hand while pointing a pistol in her mouth with his right, reported Der Spiegel.
Szumczyk titled his life-sized sculpture, “Komm, Frau,” a German phrase meaning, “Come, woman.”
Russian Ambassador Alexander Alexeyev denounced the artist and the scupture, reported Polskie Radio.
“I am deeply outraged by the prank of this student from the Gdansk Academy of Fine Arts,” he said.
“With his pseudo-art, he has insulted the memory of over 600,000 Soviet soldiers who fell in the struggle for the freedom and independence of Poland.”
He descibed the display as “an attempt to sow discord between our nations” and called for an “appropriate reaction” from Polish authorities.
Police removed the sculpture the following morning and, for a time, prosecutors considered a possible charge of inciting racial or national hatred, a conviction of which could carry a 2-year prison sentence.
But today, officials announced there would be no criminal prosecution.
“Prosecutors did not detect a crime in the conduct of the prospective perpetrator,” said Jolanta Janikowska-Matusiak, head of the Gdansk-Wrzeszcz District Prosecutor’s Office.
She said it was now a police matter and the artist could be fined up to $490 for his “indescent prank.”
Historians estimate Soviet soldiers raped over a million German women during World War II.
Prior to Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939, Gdansk — then Danzig — was a free city, with a population of over 95 percent Germans.