The diplomatic scandal initiated by the Czech Republic provoked negative consequences in relations between Russia and other European countries. The topic can be raised at the PACE session, which opens today, April 19. Moscow has already started talking about leaving the Council of Europe, as it almost always happens during a cooling off in relations.
Russia the night before declared 20 employees of the Czech Embassy persona non grata. They have set a tough deadline – by the evening of April 19, all diplomats must leave Russia. Despite the fact that 18 previously expelled Russians were given not 24, but 48 hours to leave, they were offended in Prague. After the exchange of “pleasantries”, only five employees will remain working at the Czech Embassy in Moscow.
A pretext for a diplomatic conflict – the story of how two Russian James Bond – Boshirov and Petrov – allegedly staged an explosion at arms depots in 2014 Prague hopes to consider NATO and the EU. True, the Czechs are already making a reservation that, perhaps, this was done “not on purpose”, while the Russians wanted to punish the Bulgarian arms supplier to Ukraine.
It looks like one of the goals of the scandal has been achieved. If in Russia they are perplexed and doubtful about the exotic version of the explosions, then in the Western information space, after a multi-year media attack, Skripals Russian wine does not require proof. After that, it turned out to be easy to exclude Rosatom from the tender for the modernization of the Czech NPP “Dukovany”.
The Prime Minister has already spoken out against Russia’s admission to the tender for the construction of two power units of the Dukovany NPP Andrey Babish… The almost decided exclusion of Russia, as well as China, which was deprived of such a right in January at a joint meeting of the government and the opposition, makes the American company Westinghouse the favorite in the competition. The price of the issue is $ 6 billion.
Now the position declared by representatives of the US State Department is more than clear: “The United States supports the Czech Republic in its decisive response to Russia’s subversive actions on Czech territory. We must act decisively in response to Russian actions that threaten territorial integrity, energy security or the vital infrastructure of our allies and partners. ”
The passionate desire of Czech politicians to wipe out Russia has proved stronger than the fear caused by the pandemic. Just three days ago, suffering Czechs were promised to vaccinate two-thirds of the country’s population by June. For this, the Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamacek On April 19, he was supposed to arrive in Moscow for negotiations, but because of the scandal he stayed at home. At the same time, the politicians hinted that it was something like a cover operation for an anti-Russian demarche.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called it a “hostile step” – a continuation of a series of anti-Russian actions undertaken by the Czech Republic in recent years. Obviously, referring to the story of the demolition of the Soviet monument to Marshal Konev… And pointed to the American trail. “In an effort to please the United States against the backdrop of recent US sanctions against Russia, the Czech authorities have even surpassed their overseas masters in this respect.”, – said in an official statement.
As explained so far in an unofficial format Maria Zakharova, the scandal was blown up by the United States literally from scratch in order to push back in the information field messages about the disclosure in Belarus of a conspiracy against Alexander Lukashenko, in the organization of which Minsk directly accused the United States. It is this third-party goal that explains some of the caricature of the reason for the demarche invented in Prague.
In turn, the head of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutsky called the accusations of the Czechs “schizophrinic” and recalled that Russia could leave the Council of Europe, and therefore leave the PACE. “I think that the Russian leadership will accept here <…> an adequate solution corresponding to the fact that <…> The Council of Europe and, first of all, PACE are used … to deliver various kinds of attacks on Russia “, – said the politician.
– The current stage of Russian-Czech relations cannot be called successful. There were better times, says Senior Research Fellow, Eastern Europe Sector INION RAS Alexandra Shcherbakova… – I associate this with the fact that Czech foreign policy is largely guided by what is called the “collective West”, with which Russia now has strained relations.
Thus, the liberal Czech magazine Respect characterizes Russian foreign policy as aggressive and directed against the Czech Republic. And he calls on the Security and Information Service (counterintelligence) to pay as much attention as possible to Russian actions. Moreover, he explains this by the fact that the president Milos Zeman defends Russian interests in the Czech Republic. Calls him an agent of the Kremlin. In particular, for the fact that he is lobbying for Russia’s participation in the tender for the construction of the second power unit of the Dukovany NPP.
“SP”: – Zeman is a Russophile. However, to entrust the completion of the nuclear power plant to the one who built it initially? Is a smart move. It’s about security. After all, the Czech Republic is a small country and if something happened, a radioactive cloud would cover it entirely …
– It’s just that Zeman is not a Russophobe. But when a serious political game is going on, both security and logic issues fade into the background. Take a look at neighboring Slovakia, where the prime minister even resigned over the issue of the Russian vaccine. Medical issues are becoming political. As for the reason for the expulsion of diplomats – an explosion in warehouses, there is no exact information confirming this. It used to be that firms that organized business processes were considered to be guilty.
Political scientist, head of the Balkanist.ru project Oleg Bondarenko emphasizes that Prague is one of the outposts of Russophobia in Eastern Europe.
– Is the Czech Republic a country? long and strongly associated with the United States. The level of penetration of various American official and unofficial structures into the state institutions of the Czech Republic is not inferior to the Polish one. But unlike the Poles, who still have a prototype of their own national idea, the Czechs are a pure instrument. And they took this step under great pressure from the American special services.
I am sure that the CIA gave information about the alleged involvement of 18 Russian diplomats in the explosions, and the Czechs, like obedient guys, took it and executed it, once again putting President Milos Zeman, a sincere Russophile who is not in a position to influence this process, in a stupid position. The Prime Minister has much more power in the Czech Republic. The goal of this story is to deprive Rosatom of a rather interesting contract and to make the American company the winner.
“SP”: – Is it the business reason or political pressure as such that comes first?
“I think they go hand in hand. Obviously, the Americans had information against the Russians ready for a long time? and they were waiting for the moment when they could share it with the Czechs. Despite the fact that the information itself is fake, because with all the richest imagination, diplomats could not have anything to do with the explosions. Were it not for such a political climate, tensions with the West, perhaps they would never have dared to do this.
In the opinion Director of the Institute for Eastern Europe Alexander PogorelskyRussia still does not need to slam the door in relations with Europe.
– From time to time it happens that relations with certain countries become especially acute. But we cannot make sure that these countries disappear, so we will have to somehow live and work with them. Therefore, we shift: now exacerbation, then warming. Now the situation is such that everything that comes from Russia will be rejected. But you don’t have to play their game. You need to take a reasonable position. We need to talk with them about business, about cooperation.
No need to get into the position of an offended child. For example, Russia should not leave, for example, the “green” agenda. If you cannot stop the movement, you need to lead it. Russia now has mechanisms that will allow us to beat the West in its own field. There are also different people. It’s just that those who were marginalized yesterday have now become mainstream. We need to give arguments not to those who attack us, but to those who defend us. The attitude will gradually change.