Post by TsarSamuil on Jan 31, 2013 18:48:31 GMT -5
Putin expects political dialogue from Czech president-elect Zeman.
Čtk.cz 28.01.2013, 16:23
Moscow - Russian President Vladimir Putin voiced a hope for "further development of a political dialogue" in a letter of congratulations to Czech president-elect Milos Zeman today, the Kremlin press service has said.
Putin wished every success in the "responsible state post" to Zeman, the Kremlin press service added.
"In Russia, Milos Zeman is known as a proponent of the strengthening of friendly Russian-Czech relations," Putin said in the telegram.
Putin voiced the hope that there will be "further development of political dialogue and the whole complex of constructive bilateral cooperation in the interest of Russian and Czech nations, safeguarding of stability and mutual trust in Europe."
Leftist candidate, former Social Democrat prime minister Zeman won the Saturday presidential runoff with 54.8 percent of the vote, having defeated conservative candidate Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.
Czech Prime Minister Necas not to resign over latest scandal.
Čtk.cz 14.06.2013, 14:04
Prague - Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas will not heed the opposition's calls to resign over the Thursday police raid at the Government Office after which Jana Nagyova, his closest aide, was detained, Necas told the Chamber of Deputies today.
Necas (Civic Democratic Party, ODS) said the departure of three ODS deputies from the lower house of parliament and their having been named to new posts was no reason for criminalisation.
Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek, deputy chairman of TOP 09 (a coalition government member), said the party voiced conditional support to Necas.
In his speech, Necas sharply criticised the police also in connection with the detention of the present and former Military Intelligence heads, Milan Kovanda and Ondrej Palenik.
He said this was a fatal damage of the Czech Republic.
"The detention of the two generals in this ostentatious fashion constitutes a fatal damage to the Czech Republic," Necas said, adding that this was the elimination of top officers of one secret service.
The police ought to have proceeded differently "even if what one can read in the media were truthful," Necas said.
Necas said the alleged shadowing of his family was connected with his refusal to have bodyguards.
"A combination of misunderstanding and official fervour" led to the steps that should not have been taken, he added.
The police have accused Palenik, Kovanda and other VZ members of shadowing Necas's wife ordered by Nagyova, Palenik's lawyer Tomas Sokol told CTK today.
Necas is divorcing her. Tabloids have speculated about Necas's relationship with Nagyova.
Necas said the departure of Petr Tluchor, Ivan Fuksa and Marek Snajdr (ODS) from the Chamber of Deputies after they received new posts was no reason for criminalisation.
Tluchor, Fuksa and Snajdr, Necas's opponents in the ODS, gave up their deputy's mandates and thus enabled the passage of the controversial government tax package last November.
Last December Snajdr was appointed a member of the supervisory board of the state Cepro company. Fuksa became managing director of the state Czech Aeroholding in January.
"At present, the political step is being basically criminalised," Necas said.
Necas said all parties had taken care of their members in this way within a political pact. If the reverse had happened, this would have constituted a step "toward the end of party politics," he added.
Necas asked whether he himself should be criminally prosecuted over his having offered the post of deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister to Karel Schwarzenberg, leader of TOP 09, and the post of deputy prime minister to Karolina Peake, leader of LIDEM, after he became the prime minister.
Jeronym Tejc, chairman of the opposition Social Democrat (CSSD) deputy group, said this was incomparable.
Offering the posts in semi-state companies is a matter for criminal prosecution or the resignation of the government, Tejc said.
After Necas ended his speech, CSSD leader Bohuslav Sobotka asked him to resign for the sake of the Czech Republic and called on the coalition government parties to support the proposal to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies which would pave the way to early elections.
Sobotka said the Social Democrats were ready to support the dissolution of the Chamber of Deputies.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jun 17, 2013 17:03:21 GMT -5
Czech PM Officially Resigns amid Graft Scandal.
Novinite.com World | June 17, 2013, Monday| 119 views
Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas has formally stepped down in an effort to end political turmoil over a corruption inquiry.
"Mr President, in line with the constitution... I resign," Necas told his rival left-wing President Milos Zeman.
Zeman requested that Necas stay on as a caretaker leader until a new administration is named, stressing that "the government should perform regular activities and not adopt strategic decisions,” according to international media.
The resignation follows a corruption and spying scandal that has dominated headlines in the country for most of the past week.
The scandal with a spectacular police raid last Thursday, involving 400 officers, many of them masked, searching the government offices on the banks of the Vltava River as well as 30 other buildings.
Eight high-ranking civil servants and politicians were arrested, including Necas' closest aide, Deutsche Welle reminds. Police also secured several million euros in cash and dozens of kilos of gold.
Revealed: Nazi-looted Czech gold sold by Bank of England.
RT.com July 31, 2013 10:28
The Bank of England helped the Nazis sell gold looted from Czechoslovakia, a previously unseen document has revealed. It transferred £5.6million of Czech gold on behalf of Germany's Reichsbank after the Nazi invasion in 1939.
The gold was moved from the National Bank of Czechoslovakia's account at the central Bank for International Settlements (BIS) to an account managed on behalf of the Reichsbank, according to a record from the bank's archive. The BIS was set up in 1930 to organize German reparation payments after WW1.
The Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in September 1938. In March 1939, the BIS, chaired at the time by Bank of England director, German Otto Niemeyer, asked the Bank of England to transfer £5.6m-worth of gold from the Czech national bank account to the one belonging to the Reichsbank. Historians have long believed that Montagu Norman, the Governor of the Bank of England, supported the Nazis until the outbreak of WW2.
"On March 21, 1939, the Chief Cashier received the request to transfer about £5.6m gold from the BIS No.2 Account to their No.17 Account. The bank, although it was no business of theirs, was fairly sure that the No.2 Account was a Czech National Bank Account and they believed, although they were not sure at the time, that No.17 was a Reichsbank. The amount was transferred on the same day and a small further amount on March 22,” the 10-page document, published on the Bank of England’s website explained.
Up to 2,000 gold bars were sold in Belgium and Holland, as well as in the UK.
"Between March 21 and 31, the gold received on the No.17 Account was disposed of, (with) about £4m going to the National Bank of Belgium and the Nederlandsche Bank and the remainder being sold in London."
According to the report, Sir Norman refused to tell the Chancellor whether it still had any of the Czech gold in May 1939.
"The Governor in his reply did not answer the question, but pointed out that the bank held gold from time to time for the BIS and had no knowledge whether it was their own property or that of their customers. Hence, they could not say whether the gold was held for the National Bank of Czechoslovakia," the report said.
It also showed that the UK government did not thwart the Bank of England in following the instructions from the BIS for fear of violating its obligations under international law. It was considered “wrong and dangerous for the future of BIS or any Member of the Board, particular for a national standpoint, to attempt for political reasons to influence decisions of the President of the BIS.”
The policy changed three months later, when the UK declared war on Germany after its invasion of Poland.
“The Bank should not act upon an order of the Bank for International Settlements if it seems to the Bank to be likely that the order might benefit the enemy,” the Chancellor wrote in his orders to the Bank.
The Bank of England argues its role in the episode was "widely misunderstood" saying that at the outbreak of war and for some time afterwards the “Czech gold incident still ranked.”
“Outside the Bank and the Government the Bank’s position has probably never been thoroughly appreciated and their action at the time was widely misunderstood.”
On September 29, 1938, Germany, Italy, France, and the UK signed the Munich Pact, which was seen as act of appeasement toward Germany. It permitted Nazi Germany's annexation of Czechoslovakia's areas along the country's borders mainly inhabited by German speakers, for which a new territorial designation "Sudetenland" was coined.
Hitler promised not to claim any other European territory. To prevent confrontation, Great Britain and France accepted his demands. Since Czechoslovakia was not even invited to the conference, it felt betrayed by the UK and France; Czechs and Slovaks call the Munich Agreement the Munich Dictate.
October 1, 1938 was set as the date of Czechoslovakian evacuation of the territory. In March 1939 the Germans marched into Czechoslovakia, making most of the country a German protectorate and subsequently nullifying the Munich Pact.
To avoid war, the USSR signed a non-aggression pact with Germany. On September 1, 1939, Hitler attacked Poland, hoping that the UK and France would not intervene. His bid ultimately backfired, as both countries declared war on Germany, sparking the full-scale outbreak of the worldwide conflict.
Post by TsarSamuil on Aug 13, 2013 12:07:52 GMT -5
Czech PM Steps Down after Losing Confidence Vote.
Novinite.com World | August 13, 2013, Tuesday| 243 views
The Czech cabinet led by Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok has handed its resignation to President Milos Zeman after losing a confidence vote last week.
Rusnok, an ally of Zeman, will stay on in a caretaker capacity pending a resolution of the political crisis, possibly by means of an early election that may take place in October, Euronews informs.
Rusnok was appointed by left-leaning President Milos Zeman in June following the resignation of former Prime Minister Petr Necas and the collapse of his center-right coalition.
The resignation of Necas’sgovernment came after his aide Jana Nagyova was accused of trading posts in state-owned companies for parliamentary seats and illegally using the military intelligence service to spy on people, including Necas’s wife, Radka Necasova, whom he was divorcing.
Post by TsarSamuil on Aug 20, 2013 13:27:16 GMT -5
Czech lawmakers vote to dissolve lower house.
English.news.cn 2013-08-20 23:45:43
PRAGUE, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Czech lawmakers on Tuesday voted to dissolve the lower house of parliament, paving the way for an early election possibly to be held in late October.
Of the 147 lawmakers present in the 200-seat lower house, or Chamber of Deputies, 140 supported the self-dissolution. This is for the first time the lawmakers used the possibility of the Chamber's self-dissolution since the relevant amendment to the Constitution took effect four years ago.
The proposal was supported by lawmakers for the Social Democratic Party (CSSD), TOP 09, the Communists (KSCM) and the Public Affairs (VV).
Now the lower house will be dissolved by President Milos Zeman, who will also call a new election.
The Czech cabinet led by Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok last Tuesday submitted its resignation to President Zeman after it failed to win a vote of confidence in parliament. Zeman accepted the resignation and asked the current cabinet to continue working until a new government is appointed.
After former Prime Minister Petr Necas resigned over a spy and bribery scandal, Zeman appointed Rusnok as prime minister of a caretaker government on July 10 against the will of the parties in parliament.
Post by TsarSamuil on Aug 25, 2013 15:43:57 GMT -5
Up to 100 detained at anti-Roma rallies in Czech Republic (PHOTOS)
RT.com August 25, 2013 08:19
A group of around 100 far-right activists were detained in eight Czech cities as they staged rallies against the Roma ethnic minority, according to officials.
The northeastern city of Ostrava was the scene of the largest protest, numbering anywhere between 600 and 800 people. As the gang tried to enter the Roma district, they were met with police resistance, resulting in a violent clash involving stones and tear gas.
The police took 60 of the demonstrators in for questioning, a spokeswoman told AFP.
Seven other cities played host to smaller marches, which got the attention of human rights activists, who in turn staged their own counter-demonstrations in several cities, including the capital Prague.
The demonstrations had been planned in advance. The Czech government received an advanced warning from Amnesty International, asking it to "ensure that these protests do not lead to violence against Roma communities and that those at risk get the protection they need".
The atmosphere in the Czech Republic is worrying to the quarter-million Roma population living there. A 2011 survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights discovered that 80 per cent of its members have felt discriminated against in the previous year.
Far-right Czech activists shout as they march in protest against the Roma minority in Plzen August 24, 2013. (Reuters / David W Cerny)
Last Edit: Jan 29, 2017 20:40:40 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
PRAGUE, Jan. 17 (Xinhua) -- Czech President Milos Zeman has appointed Bohuslav Sobotka, the leader of the Social Democrats, as the new prime minister, 83 days after early elections completely changed the Czech political landscape. The appointment marks the beginning of a new era in Czech politics, and also the beginning of new political battles.
The new Czech government got a comfortable 111-seat majority in the House of Deputies, short of a constitutional majority, but with plenty of room to move. The three new coalition partners, the Social Democrats (CSSD), the ANO movement, and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) span the political spectrum, which could lead to some volatility.
Sobotka must now be breathing a sigh of relief, as the expectation for the majority of 2013 was that President Zeman would use his Presidential powers to appoint a different prime minister than the winning party put forward. All signs had previously pointed to Zeman's ally, Michal Hasek, being the likely choice, despite not being the Social Democrat's candidate for the prime minister.
Sobotka managed to outmanoeuvre Hasek, and was able to secure the resignation from leadership positions of Hasek and his loyalists, winning a firm control over his party.
The largest battles, however, may yet be to come. The president has indicated that he intends to scrutinize all ministerial appointments, and perhaps block them.
The president has vowed to support competent, expert ministers, and not to allow unqualified people to hold ministries.
Sobotka has made clear his willingness to fight for his ministers, which will surely test the political system if the president chooses to oppose them. Ultimately, in this parliamentary democracy, the government would likely win, but not without casualties.
The appointment of the ministerial candidates may be the immediate challenge, but if Sobotka can wend his way through the minefield, larger battles may lay ahead. Many of Sobotka's core promises in the election are opposed by his political partners, including raising taxes (opposed by both ANO and KDU-CSL) and changing the restitution to the Czech churches (opposed by KDU-CSL). Some of these issues may be overcome by support in votes from opposition parties, but such clefts would not bode well for the health of the coalition.
The leaders of the coalition partners, Andrej Babis of ANO and Pavel Belobradek of KDU-CSL, could well be loose cannons that could harm the future government.
Babis, the Czech Republic's 2nd-richest man, led a populist movement to unforeseen success in October's elections, and has been a sharp critic of the political status quo. He has been quiet since the elections, though that may change once the parties get into the hard slog of governing. Belobradek, on the other hand, comes from a party with a tradition of centrist compromising and multi-partisanship. He, however, almost single-handedly brought down the fledgling coalition during negotiations in December, so there is no guarantee that KDU-CSL will be an easy partner to work with.
Sobotka, an unassuming, balding, bespectacled man who looks like he could be a professor or a librarian, has surprised many with the strength of his leadership and his ability to overcome the formidable hurdles that have blocked his way.
He now has attained his goal, but the trials that face him may be the toughest he has ever faced.
Post by TsarSamuil on Nov 25, 2014 16:13:56 GMT -5
‘American beer is just filthy water’ - Czech President.
RT.com November 24, 2014 19:46
The Czech president Milos Zeman eulogized his country’s trademark beverage, while insulting US beer as “filthy water” during a presidential business summit in the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan.
Asked about which beer is the best in the world, by the longtime Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Zeman did not hesitate.
“We have built several breweries here already. We might make good planes, cars or other products, but most importantly, never forget - Czech beer is the best in the world,” said the 70-year-old.
“No American company that offers some filthy water instead of beer, can compete with us.”
Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev (C) welcomes his Czech counterpart Milos Zeman (R) during their meeting in Astana on November 24, 2014. (AFP Photo/Ilyas Omarov)Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev (C) welcomes his Czech counterpart Milos Zeman (R) during their meeting in Astana on November 24, 2014. (AFP Photo/Ilyas Omarov)
The patriotic leader has been entrusted with concluding $450 million worth of business deals between the Central Asian republic and Prague during a two-day business forum that finishes on Tuesday.
Zeman’s unsolicited sentiments may offend US brewers, but this is far from the most controversial statement the politician, elected last year, has made in the past few weeks.
Earlier this month, the Russian-speaking President gave a profane interview on Czech radio, calling the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, “f****d up” and “b*****s”, and translating their name into Czech as “c***s.”
After claiming that police force used to put down pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989 did not constitute a massacre, Zeman was pelted with eggs by a crowd holding red cards in Prague, during last week’s 25-year anniversary of the beginning of the fall of Communism in the country.
“I am not afraid of you!” Zeman retorted to the crowd, which cried that the president must not be allowed to come near a monument commemorating Communist oppression.
All the while, he has continued to insist that Russia has not initiated the conflict in eastern Ukraine, insisting that the West must lift sanctions on Moscow, and recognize Crimea as part of Russia.
The inflammatory statements have seen the President’s popularity slump from 58 to 37 percent in the space of a month, according to Prague’s Median polling firm. Last week’s poll numbers also showed that 71 percent of Czechs now believe that Zeman’s behavior and public statements are harming the image of the country abroad.
MP urges Czechs to bother Muslims, says it is no xenophobia.
Čtk.cz 03.01.2015, 18:52
Prague - Tomio Okamura, who heads the Czech opposition Dawn of Direct Democracy movement, has called on people on Facebook to bother Muslims in the Czech Republic by "walking pigs" in the vicinity of mosques, for example, which, he emphasised, is no incitement to intolerance.
The Dawn discussed the text of the appeal with lawyers before releasing it, he told the iDnes.cz server.
In the past, Okamura repeatedly asserted that he is not a xenophobe, in spite of his controversial statements about Romanies and foreigners in the Czech Republic.
For example, Okamura once visited a man convicted of a racially-motivated murder in prison.
The text that Okamura released on Facebook today is the Dawn´s "instruction for the protection against Islam." It is signed by Dawn member Jiri Kobza.
The Dawn advises people to keep dogs and pigs and to go to walk them in the vicinity of mosques and other sites visited by Muslims.
People should also lead [seedy-looking] homeless people to such places, Dawn recommends.
It says people should not buy kebab, a meal often offered by Muslim vendors.
The article is also aimed against immigrants in general. It calls on people not to vote in support of politicians who promise advantages to immigrants.
Okamura told iDnes.cz that the article is no incitement to provocations and intolerance.
"We´ve discussed the text with our defence lawyers. I don´t want to step on thin ice," he said.
However, experts addressed by CTK said the Dawn´s appeal for intolerance towards minorities has crossed a bearable limit.
Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (Social Democrats, CSSD) said he would not comment "on Mr Okamura´s hateful utterances."
Previously, Okamura said the foreigners who lose their job in the Czech Republic should return to their homeland and not sponge on the Czech welfare system.
Okamura is also infamous for his anti-Romany statements. He said the wartime concentration camp in Lety, south Bohemia, where hundreds of Romanies died, had been a labour camp for workshy people.
The Dawn of Direct Democracy entered the Czech Chamber of Deputies for the first time in the October 2013 elections, gaining 6.88 percent of the vote. With 14 seats in the 200-seat Chamber, it is one of the two smallest parties in it.
In the past year, the Dawn´s popularity has stood below the 5-percent parliament threshold, according to public opinion polls.
Up to 3,000 people gathered in Hradcany Square in Prague on Friday to express their opposition to the perceived Islamification of Europe. In attendance were several members of parliament who spoke to the crowd as they cheered and waved Czech flags.
US Ambassador banned from Prague Castle: Time for America to treat Eastern Europe with respect.
Bryan MacDonald is an Irish writer and commentator focusing on Russia and its hinterlands and international geo-politics. Follow him on Facebook
RT.com April 06, 2015 16:11
The most surprising thing about the President Zeman/Ambassador Schapiro row isn’t the US envoy’s comments. It’s that a European head of state has decided to stand up to American bullying.
Diplomats are widely perceived as highly educated foreign specialists who endure years of training before being let loose on a sensitive posting. This is true of most global powers. However, there's one very notable exception, the United States. In America, ambassadorships are often crony appointments, rewarding political allies for services previously rendered.
The exception is when a country is either particularly useful to America or relations are especially strained. An example of the former is Ukraine where the State Department ‘lifer’ Geoffrey Pyatt was conveniently appointed a couple of months before the Maidan crisis erupted. Moscow falls into the latter category; the very experienced John Tefft was installed in 2014 to replace Michael McFaul, whose tenure was widely regarded as disastrous.
The Pyatt type of Ambassador takes a very hands-on role; in fact he even helped to choose the country's government. They are well briefed in US foreign policy goals and have a wide network within the State Department. Pyatt’s partisanship in Ukraine isn’t a solo run - it’s transparently obvious that ‘higher-ups’ approve of his methods, whether they be directing traffic on the streets of Kiev or hysterically branding anti-government forces as ‘terrorists.’ Pyatt is also a skilled media operator who has successfully manipulated the Kiev-based hack pack. Of course, the fact that most western 'journalists' on the Russia-Ukraine beat have very little training in craft makes that task a lot easier.
The typical US Ambassador doesn’t get to be a ‘hero’ like Pyatt. Instead, they essentially buy their sinecures. Generally, the positions are a reward for fundraising or, very occasionally, are granted to a high profile individual with connections to the country. An example here is when JFK’s sister Jean Kennedy Smith enjoyed five years in Dublin, further strengthening the 'love-love' relationship between the Kennedy family and their ancestral homeland.
Bundling into office
These days, the fastest way to become 'Your Excellency' is by operating as a 'bundler.' A bundler is neither a type of wrapping, nor is it botany related; it’s American terminology for an activist who pushes legal fundraising limits to their limits. Given the ridiculous expense of American ‘democracy' - where Obama spent $1.1 billion on his 2008 campaign - these guys are invaluable. Whereas a private citizen can only give $2,500 to a politician, a bundler collects contributions from dozens of different individuals and presents the sum in one payment.
Naturally then, in the spirit of Kris Kristofferson’s famous observation that “Nothin' ain’t worth nothin’ when it’s free," they have to be rewarded once the candidate they backed secures the White House. The easiest way is a comfortable ambassadorship, where the US taxpayer can keep them in style for a few years. The most successful bundlers (bringing in $500,000+) even get to choose their location.
Sometimes these bundler nominees are hopelessly out of their depth. Take George Tsunis, who was slated for the Norway job and immediately hoped to meet “the President.” He was apparently unaware that the country is a Monarchy. Then there’s Colleen Bell, a soap opera writer/producer, who couldn’t answer John McCain’s questions about America’s “strategic interests in Hungary.” To be out-maneuvered by the hapless Arizona Senator suggests a deep level of incompetence. Also, don’t forget Max Baucus who was appointed to Beijing after telling the Foreign Relations Committee: “I’m no real expert on China.” At least he was honest.
Schapiro's own holocaust history
This brings me to Andrew Schapiro. The Ambassador to Prague was a year ahead of President Obama at Harvard Law School. That said, Schapiro is somewhat different to most of Obama's motley crew. He has family connections to the Czech Republic where his Prague-born mother, Raya, was a Holocaust refugee. His Grandmother and Uncle both stayed behind and died, both in Poland, one at Auschwitz and the other at Treblinka.
It’s beyond any doubt that Schapiro would be fully aware that Russian-led Soviet forces liberated those German death-camps. Even if Treblinka had already been demolished by the Nazi's in a futile cover-up attempt. Ironically, the first Soviet officer to enter Auschwitz was Anatoly Shapiro, a namesake.
The Ambassador’s history makes his attempt to bully President Milos Zeman look even more ridiculous. However, one thing Americans don’t like is for their edicts to be ignored. When you believe your nation to be “indispensable” how dare anybody question its orders?
What’s clear is that once Barack Obama announced that he would not be attending the 70th anniversary of Victory Day in Moscow, the State Department expected all ‘allied’ countries to fall in line. Other than Greece (which is in dispute with the EU) and Cyprus, everyone else has played ball except the Czechs.
Completely unqualified for his role, Schapiro weighed in and directly criticized Milos Zeman’s choice to visit Moscow on May 9. I can’t even imagine the American reaction if the Czech ambassador took Obama to task for choosing to recognize Cuba or supporting an illegal coup in nearby Ukraine, to give two examples. Once most Americans had figured out where the Czech Republic actually is, the Ambassador would be vilified.
Zeman claims that he’s visiting Moscow to “give thanks” for the fact that Czechs are not speaking German nowadays. Another unmentioned historical fact is that Czechoslovakia (as it was then) was effectively handed to Hitler by the ‘free world’ in 1938. Conversely, Soviet tanks rolled into Prague 30 years later to viciously quell an uprising. Hence, Czechs have very ambivalent attitudes to both Russia and the Western powers. Given their historical experiences, Czechs generally believe that they can trust neither side.
Their President has virulently opposed the veneration of Stepan Bandera by the post-coup regime in Ukraine. In January, he noted that Bandera had intended to establish a Nazi-puppet state if Germany had succeeded in permanently removing Ukraine from the USSR. Like his predecessor, Vaclav Klaus, Zeman has also been critical of American-led sanctions against Russia.
Last week, Zeman attacked historical revisionists, pointing out that the USSR didn't annex Czechoslovakia after the war. "Soviet soldiers came in 1945 as liberators and by the autumn of that year had left our country,” he said. "In 1946, free elections took place which, unfortunately, were won by the Communist Party."
Schapiro claimed that Zeman's Moscow plans were "short-sighted" as it would "be awkward" if the Czech President was the only statesman from an EU country on Red Square. The bundler turned bungler is obviously unaware of the scheduled Greek and Cypriot attendance. German chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to travel to Moscow the next day, May 10th.
The new American century?
Now that Zeman has barred Schapiro from Prague Castle, the residence of the Czech President, the next installment of this tête-à-tête will be fascinating. The President is certain to come under massive pressure from certain elements in his own government to backtrack. However, with three years remaining of his five year term, he's unlikely to easily surrender.
For the US, we might have reached a fork in the road of its treatment of Eastern Europe. I detect a feeling that support for American policy against Russia was taken for granted by Washington. However, the Ukraine crisis has changed all that. While the Baltic nations will back US policy to the bitter end, for what they consider to be existential reasons, many Balkan and former Warsaw pact members are taking a different view.
With moribund economies or in Greece's case barely any economy at all; many are wondering if the zero-sum-game espoused by Washington and Brussels is really beneficial. While most post-communist EU states made rapid progress following their initial accession, improvements have almost completely stalled since 2008. Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have all expressed varying degrees of discomfort at the EU's Russia policy. As have Greece and Cyprus which didn't endure communism. Additionally, Serbia and Turkey - both EU candidates - have both strongly opposed anti-Russia sanctions.
Washington now has a clear choice. Continue to bully Eastern Europe and risk watching support for the US crumble, or listen to the concerns of the region. The problem is that this would involve admitting that American Ukraine policy has been boneheaded and that Russia has a key role to play in Eastern Europe. They could start by appointing some real diplomats to the likes of Prague and Budapest, not Obama bagmen and women with a fondness for Ferrero Rocher.
A lesson of arrogance from American ambassador to Czech Republic.
RT.com April 07, 2015 16:29
The US Ambassador to Prague tried to teach Czech President Zeman how he should express devotion to Euro-integration and show respect to the Obama-led flagship of world democracy. Zeman responded by saying Andrew Schapiro is not welcome in his castle.
The statement followed criticism by the US diplomat of Milos Zeman’s decision to attend the Victory Day celebration in Moscow on May 9. Ambassador Andrew Schapiro called the plans “short-sighted” adding that it would “be awkward” if the Czech president was the only statesman from an EU country on Red Square. Schapiro was probably unaware, that among about thirty heads of state from around the world who have so far confirmed their plans to attend the V-Day parade in Moscow, at least three will be from the European Union countries: Greece, Cyprus and - the Czech Republic.
But it’s not the ignorance of American politicians, which has long been the talk of the world, but the arrogance, which under the Obama rule has become the main characteristic of the American political class. And it is best illustrated by the one we see in the window of US foreign policy, Jen Psaki:
“May may seem close, but it’s a long time away,”- was all she had to say, commenting on the upcoming Anniversary of the end of the War.
America has always been a long distance away from Europe, but in the 21st century the distance seems to be shrinking rapidly and not everyone in the Old World seems to be happy about it. Czech President Zeman is certainly one of them. Who would disagree with him, when he says that it is simply impossible to imagine that the Czech Ambassador to Washington would start advising the American President, where he must go and when? Maybe it is because Europeans are used to assigning career diplomats to being their Chargé d'affaires, while Andrew Schapiro is a middle-aged Chicago lawyer who was appointed Ambassador to the Czech Republic six months ago after being actively involved in President Obama’s reelection campaign. Which is a typical American payback: presidents there often appoint political allies ambassadors to US-friendly countries.
But Schapiro’s behavior not only sparks anti-American sentiment in Prague – it has provoked a war between the Czech foreign ministry and Prague Castle, the imposing seat of the presidency, undermining the country’s foreign policy as EU leaders call for unity in an effort to end the conflict in Ukraine. The diplomatic fault lines around President Zeman highlight a real fragility inside the European Union, where many political analysts consider that Moscow is trying to undermine solidarity on sanctions against Russia among its former Central European allies through divide-and-rule tactics.
I can imagine that the Ambassador’s words were just a simple answer to an interview, in which the president voiced his concern over the current Western attempts to isolate Russia.
“It is essential to maintain and develop relations with Russia not only on a commercial basis, but also, for instance, based on the strategic partnership in the fight against international terrorism,” Zeman said, before he started packing for the trip to Russia. His intention to pay a visit to Moscow in May was announced as early as January. Sources in the Czech government, which play a leading role in the country’s foreign policy, informally expressed disappointment over this decision, however, according to the Czech media, the Cabinet “will not try to prevent this trip, because never before in Czech history there was such a precedent.”
But Zeman, in turn, explained that his visit to Russia would be a “sign of gratitude for not having to speak German in this country.” He also intended to pay tribute to the memory of 150,000 Soviet soldiers who died liberating Czechoslovakia. Well, it looks like the man is just trying to be honest and straightforward, while Washington is panicking because it is apparently failing to isolate Russia.
And Moscow is absolutely aware of that. Here’s a quote from one of the resent Tweets by Aleksey Pushkov, head of the State Duma Foreign Relations Committee:
“Judging by the hysteria of the US Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Washington is nervous about Western countries' leaders traveling to Moscow on May 9. Scared that the isolation will not work.”
Western leaders are boycotting the celebrations in Moscow on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Victory over Nazi Germany in support of the policy of isolation of Russia over Russia’s reunification with the Crimea and its support of the rebel regions in Eastern Ukraine.
But despite all the US diplomatic effort, the split among Europeans on relations with Russia is obvious. Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel has come up with a compromise: she plans to arrive in Moscow the day after, on May 10. Joined by President Vladimir Putin she will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall. This in itself is a challenge to other European leaders. How, for example, David Cameron is going to explain to the British public why the German leader found courage to congratulate the Russians with their victory over the Nazi Germany, while the allies totally boycotted the anniversary?
Of course it will be easier to call Milos Zeman a traitor after he spoke at the Rhodes forum, hosted by the head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin. But in that speech made in Russian, he called for the lifting of sanctions imposed by Western countries against Moscow because they are more harmful for the Europeans, than for the oil-rich Russia.
It may sound logical, may even be tolerated, but not from a head of state supposedly friendly to the USA. This seems to be the reason, why the controversial remarks have immediately resulted in an anti-Zeman campaign all over the local media.A group of experts quoted another of the president’s remarks concerning WW2 and called on Zeman to show restraint when assessing the late Ukrainian collaborationist Stepan Bandera and using the word Banderites. Zeman answered the critics by further criticizing Bandera and Roman Shukhevych and saying he could not congratulate Ukraine on having such national heroes.
Having been joined by another four scientists, including Ukrainian studies expert Lenka Vichova, historian David Svoboda, from the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, and political geographer Michael Romancov, the critics admitted that Bandera should not be praised only. Nevertheless, he should not be lied about, they write. They, for example, doubt the authenticity of a famous Bandera´s statement: "Kill every Pole aged between 16 and 60." Opposing Zeman, they say Bandera never said that:
"Historians usually attribute the statement to Dmytry Klyachkivsky, commander of the Ukrainian nationalist resistance in Volhynia, who is considered the initiator of the anti-Polish ethnic cleansing."
They also point out that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko asked the Polish nation for forgiveness in connection with the past wrongs. They forgot to mention, however, that after doing so, he sent his troops to the South-West, where they killed 4,000 and injured another 10,000 fellow citizens for their desire to speak their native language and elect their own governors. They also challenge the drawing of parallels between Bandera and Jan Rys-Rozsevac, who Zeman said founded Vlajka, a fascist organization in the pre-war Czechoslovakia. But to me it is obvious that this scientific dispute has nothing to do with history:
"We hope that you will show the courage you show in the disputes over 70-year-old events in the clash with the present aggressors, too,” the opposing political scientists wrote to Zeman in an allusion to the Russian policy in Ukraine.
And here is what the U.S. Ambassador had to say after his arrogant statement caused this entire political row:
“I want to inform the Czech people that the US government and Americans value our partnerships and alliances now more than ever.”
I wonder who is Mr. Schapiro to address the population of a European country on behalf of all the American people? As well as one can imagine how President Zeman should wonder, having read the ambassador’s remarks: “Who are you to f***ing lecture me”!
Al Gurnov, political analyst, RT
Last Edit: Apr 8, 2015 21:54:29 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Czech Republic: 'Night Wolves' pay their respects to Czech national hero Jan Zizka.
RuptlyTV May 6, 2015
Members of the Russian 'Night Wolves' Motorcycle Club visited Prague's National Monument in Vitkov Wednesday, to commemorate the Soviet soldiers killed during World War II and to pay their respects to Czech national hero Jan Zizka.
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Jan 10, 2020 14:27:01 GMT -5
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Mar 15, 2020 10:48:19 GMT -5
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