WARSAW. MAY 9. INTERFAX C.N
TRAL EUROPE - Poland's governing Law and Justice (PiS) party is working on a draft bill to bring down communist monuments that is complementary to a similar bill under development at the Culture Ministry, PiS Member of Parliament Karol Karski told Interfax Central Europe Wednesday.
"The chief premises of the PiS draft are: change of names connected with communism [… and] removing from the public gaze material symbols of communism," Karski said in written remarks to Interfax.
The project also envisages "revoking of orders […] honorary titles and similar personal distinctions bestowed for services to communism by the communist state authorities, political parties, trade unions or other organizations officially in operation over the years 1944-1989," he added.
The bill, leaving the decision on each specific monument to the local authorities, will contain a detailed definition of the symbol of communism and will allow for an estimate of the exact number of such symbols, Karski wrote.
The proposed legislation hit the headlines amid a conflict raging in Estonia over the relocation of a Red Army monument in that country's capital of Tallinn. As protests by ethnic Russians erupted in both Estonia and Russia, and Moscow responded with sanctions, Poland came out in support of the tiny Baltic nation. The Polish stance, and the proposed legislation to eradicate monuments of the communist regime, further fuelled Russia's anger.
The PiS draft is complementary to legislation the Culture Ministry is working on to define what a "place of national remembrance" is and setting out rules on their financing, Karski also said.
"Between the PiS parliamentary caucus and the Culture Ministry there is full understanding on the solution to the problem of symbols of communism in Poland," he added.
The draft bills would leave the decision on which monuments offend contemporary Polish sensitivities to local authorities, the PiS parliamentarian said.
"It is impossible to estimate how many monuments and other symbols of communism are to be removed," Karski wrote. "In accordance with the Polish law (and the bill under development) the decision on which monument is to be removed will be made by local authorities (at municipal level)."