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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Monument to Nazi General Is Vandalized Near Church

MTBremzis looking at the broken memorial at the Church of All Saints.
A monument to a Nazi general and Russians who fought for the Germans in World War II was vandalized in northern Moscow on the eve of Victory Day celebrations.

The monument, a gravestone bearing the names of Nazi and Cossack generals, was smashed by unidentified vandals Tuesday evening at the Church of All Saints, near the Sokol metro station in northern Moscow, said Yanis Bremzis, a leader of the Volunteer Corps, a tsarist organization dedicated to remembering those who fought against Soviet rule.

The monument -- there are no bodies under the gravestone -- was erected in the early 1990s and is dedicated to those who fought on the German side during World War II for "their faith and for their fatherland."

One of the names on the monument is Helmuth von Pannwitz, a German general who commanded the Wehrmacht's 25th Cossack Cavalry Corps. A number of Cossack generals are also listed on the monument.

The monument has attracted controversy since its erection, with several attempts by opponents to have it removed. The monument, opponents say, is disrespectful to those who died fighting for the Soviet Union.

Bremzis, who was clearing up the monument's remains Wednesday morning, said a church employee scared the vandals away before they could attack other monuments. The attacker hit one other monument but did not break it, he said.

Two other monuments erected by the Volunteer Corps in the cemetery are dedicated to "bringing peace" among countries that fought in the first and second world wars.

Police are looking for three men of Slavic appearance suspected of vandalizing the gravestone, Interfax reported Wednesday.