Soviet Statues Fall for Reagan

Citizens in the Polish town of Katowice are petitioning the city’s government to pull down a monument to Soviet troops who drove the Nazis out of their town in 1945 and replace it with statue of Ronald Reagan. Calling the late U.S. president a “symbol of liberty,” press reports say townspeople want the statue to be the “centerpiece of the city’s Freedom Square.”

It did not take historians years into the future to uncover the profound impact Ronald Reagan’s commitment to freedom and personal liberty had on the world. President Reagan subscribed to a creed that asserts that by divine providence America has something to offer to the world.

In his historic June 1987 speech at the Brandenburg Gate in the Berlin Wall, Reagan said it was his duty to speak of freedom. He expressed revulsion at the “brutal division of a continent,” and said as long as the wall stood it would be a “question of freedom for all mankind.”

“The advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace,” the president said in the address heard on both sides of the wall. “The totalitarian world produces backwardness because it does such violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to enjoy, to worship. The totalitarian world finds even symbols of love and of worship an affront.”

Reagan’s policies ultimately led to the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

America is not an ethnicity or mere geography, but a set of first principles to which we pledge allegiance—freedom, human dignity, self-government, and equality.

America has been blessed by God in unique ways—we are not just another country, but neither are we God’s special people. Our Founding Fathers affirmed that human rights are not mere human constructs, but are unalienable rights conferred by God. Government could not create those rights; all it could do was recognize them and support them.

This idea of divinely ordained rights had not taken root anywhere else in the world. It was a new and unique concept. From the richness of our undeserved legacy come obligations that have their source in Scripture. If we have been given much, we are obligated to give much to others. If we love our neighbors as ourselves, we will not only seek to preserve and protect our liberties, but assist others in their efforts to attain these same liberties.

Opponents of Poland’s former communist regime reportedly want to pay a posthumous homage to U.S. President Ronald Reagan by erecting his statue in the place of a Soviet-era monument.

In an open letter to the mayor of the southwestern city of Katowice, the former anti-regime activists said that the staunchly anti-communist Reagan had been a “symbol of liberty,” the Polish news agency PAP reported.

As a result, they said, he deserved to become the centerpiece of the city’s Freedom Square, replacing a monument to the Soviet troops who drove out the occupying Nazis in 1945.

They also said they wanted the site to be rebaptised “Ronald Reagan Freedom Square.”

City hall spokesman Waldemar Bojarun said that Katowice’s council would consider the issue.

Bojarun said that while he had “enormous respect” for Reagan, the proposal could cost an estimated 500,000 zlotys (128,000 euros, 168,000 dollars) and the city had “other pressing needs.”

There are already separate plans to erect a statue in memory of Reagan in the center of the Polish capital, Warsaw, which would be paid for from private funds.

Reagan, who dubbed the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” is widely credited by Poles with having driven communism to the wall.

The conservative Republican made fighting communism the cornerstone of his 1980-1988 presidency, and backed Poland’s Solidarity trade union after it went underground when the regime declared martial law in 1981.


Dr. Richard Land is president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention's official entity assigned to address social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families and their faith.