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I saw heard many things when I visited Prague in 1991. One of those things was a bizarrely painted pink tank from the Soviet “liberation” of the country in the 1940s. According to Radio Praha, this is the actual history behind it:

Prague’s Kinsky Square was for many decades called The Square of Soviet Tank Crews. It was because a huge Soviet tank, a memorial to the liberation of Czechoslovakia in 1945, used to stand there on a 5-metre pedestal, its barrel menacingly pointing at a tram stop. Until one morning, in the spring of 1991, locals woke up and could not believe their eyes. The tank had turned pink overnight.
“Of course, it was a political statement and at the same time it was an artistic
action. And it was a lot of fun.”
The enfant terrible of Czech visual art, David Cerny, was only 23 when he covered the green tank in pink paint making it look rather like piece of candy. But his act was seen by many as an outrage against the Soviet liberators of Prague.
More than a symbol of the liberation of Prague by the Red Army in May 1945, for many Czechs the tank became a reminder of the Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
“Having to pass this symbol of the Russian dictatorship which was here since I was born, I did not take the tank as a symbol of freedom – the end of the Second World War.”
Of course, the Czechoslovak Army would have no such nonsense as a pink tank, so three days later soldiers arrived with buckets of paint and gave the tank a new green coat. Ten days after that a group of parliament deputies repainted it pink again in support of David Cerny’s act.
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One Comment

  1. Sadly the pink tank has now gone, but several of David Černý’s other works decorate the Prague streets.


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