The list included the Courage Monument in Belarus, which honored the more than 2,000 Soviet soldiers killed in the defense of a fortress during the early days of World War II.
"CNN apologizes for the unintended offense caused by an article from a contributor that was intended to be a humorous look at monumental architecture worldwide," the network said in a written statement Friday after pulling the story.
"We recognize that the Courage Monument carries deep and significant symbolism in honoring the soldiers who gave their lives defending their nation," the statement said.
Russia's RIA Novosti news agency described the Courage Monument as an enormous sculpture of a Red Army infantryman emerging from a "mountain of stone."
The Russian foreign ministry said in a written statement including the monument on its list was "a sacrilegious and cynical move."
"It is advisable that CNN journalists remember that soldiers from our countries fought side by side in that war, which is sacrosanct for our nation," the statement said.