Statement of the Czech President Milos Zeman that the Russian annexation of the Crimea – a fait accompli and Ukraine should receive compensation for it in financial terms, of oil or gas has caused a flurry of indignation among Ukrainian politicians and the public. Condemnation of the speech of the Czech President of the Ukrainian deputies attracted the attention of Czech media quoted the words of Leonid Emeca about the “vile” Semana. In the Czech Republic now completed the campaign in Parliament, and in January of the election of the President, and naturally, the scandal caused by the proposal of Ukraine to exchange the Crimea, did not go unnoticed.
For a large part of the Czechs, Zeman has long been the enfant terrible of Czech politics, what the author managed to make during communication in Prague with Czech journalists and political scientists. On the one hand, Zeman is ridicule because of addiction to alcohol, on the other hand, he was the first popularly elected President of the Czech Republic, which is the lobbying of the rapprochement with Russia has created a lot of problems for the Czech government and harm the country’s image abroad.
In the Czech Republic argue that Zeman deliberately resorts to provocations in order to compensate for the lack of power.
However, it is unlikely that the Ukrainians should accept the statements of the Czech President to heart. As explained at the meeting with Ukrainian journalists in Prague, the editor of the international Department of the Czech newspaper Hospodářské noviny Ondrej Soukup, Zeman deliberately resorts to provocations in order to compensate for the lack of power. “The President has a decorative function, a little more than the Queen of England. He signs laws, can veto. After began to elect the President directly, has increased its informal authority, but the authority has not increased. Accordingly, the only way he (Zeman – Ed.) to influence is to cause a constant scandals, he’s an absolute master. This time it touched and Ukraine,” said Soukup.
According to the Constitution of the Czech Republic, “the government is the Supreme body of Executive power”, accordingly, foreign policy is the prerogative of the Prime Minister and the foreign Ministry. Czech Ambassador in Ukraine, Radek Matula repeatedly in an interview with Ukrainian media highlighted this and called the position of Zeman his personal point of view.
In foreign policy the President has representative functions, affects the appointment of ambassadors and the ratification of international agreements. Zeman his powers trying to take maximum advantage: for example, in Moscow, was appointed the Ambassador of a friendly Russia, the Communist, the first Czechoslovak cosmonaut and hero of the Soviet Union Vladimir Remek. However, as has assured Ukrainian journalists in Prague, the Czech political scientist Michal Vit, the Embassy in Russia are diplomats who hold the line of the government, despite the personal views of the Ambassador.
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Provocative statements Zeman largely directed at the domestic audience and to attract attention to his own person. As noted by Andrzej Soukup, all the years of stay in power Zeman engaged in personal PR, constantly circling a small town with the aim of agitation. “He tells people all steal, intellectuals and feminists is horrible, and I’m as simple as you like to drink. And if his “favorite elite” say that Russia is the aggressor, he almost automatically mind not the aggressor. When was the trial of Pussy Riot and all supported a petition in their support, he said that it’s absurd,” explains a Czech journalist.
Now few people remember that in April 2014, President Zeman called on NATO to send troops to the Donbas. “If Russia decides to widen its territorial expansion to Eastern Ukraine, with jokes will be over. In this case, I would suggest not only the most rigid sanctions by the EU, but also improving the combat readiness of the NATO, for example, the introduction of troops on Ukrainian territory”, – said the Czech President. It also offered the NATO Secretary General to take measures of deterrence against Russia, but then abruptly changed his point of view.
“Zeman was the first one at the end of April 2014, called for the introduction in the Donbass NATO troops. And then two weeks later on Russian troops, he said: I Sergey Lavrov said that they are not there”, – noted in communication with journalists Ondrej Soukup.
These days in the Czech Republic focused on the parliamentary elections which will pass in 10 days and who can beat the party of tycoon Andrew Babish. This could be a much bigger challenge for the country than Zeman with its decorative functions. The presidential campaign has not yet generated much interest.
In the 2013 elections, Zeman managed to win Prince Karel Schwarzenberg former Minister of foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and the representative of the liberal party TOP 09, which is perhaps the most europtimistic and calling for support for Ukrainian political force in the Czech Republic. Prague, Brno and some other major cities of the Czech Republic then voted for Schwarzenberg and Zeman won in small towns and rural areas.
In the current election campaign to the Czech President opposes head in 2009-2017 years of the Czech Academy of Sciences Jiri Dragos opponent of the idea of a referendum on secession from the Czech Republic to the EU. According to the September survey Median, for Zeman are ready to vote 27% of the electorate, Dragos – 24%.
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Although Zeman of the Czech journalists and analysts with whom the author was able to talk in Prague, Russian “Trojan horse”, and more attention here advised to pay at how Russian businessmen are corrupt Czech politicians through investments, joint business in real estate, construction and energy.
After the resignation of President Vaclav Havel in 2003 in the Czech Republic seems to have got used that the owner is the Prague castle is not the moral authority that it needs to be, and so his limited powers is a good thing. Before Zeman was President Vaclav Klaus, who began as one of the initiators of European integration, and is now a eurosceptic and a regular at the Valdai club. Czech journalists in conversation with the author calling him a narcissist who can boycott the media because of one awkward question.