Czech President Miloš Zeman on Thursday attended the celebrations of
Victory Day at the Russian embassy in Prague. In his speech, given in
Russian, the Czech head of state likened Nazism to Islamic terror and
stressed the need to fight against the evil.
Mr Zeman also highlighted the significant role of the Red Army in the liberation of Europe. The event was also attended by former Czech President Václav Klaus, speaker of the lower house Radek Vondráček and several members of the Communist Party.
Russia is the most active country in trying to influence elections and
democratic processes on the international scene, Czech BIS
counter-intelligence head Michal Koudelka said at a Prague seminar on
European elections and hybrid warfare.
Koudelka said the Kremlin used both governmental and non-governmental resources for this end, using means such as sending emails to selected groups of people, opening social media accounts under fake identities and the hacking and subsequent publishing of illegally gained information with the intent of harming a specific group or candidate.
It is Russia’s aim to undermine European integrity, weaken democratic institutions in EU member states and the trust of the public in these institutions, Koudelka said.
President Miloš Zeman has welcomed this week’s Constitutional Court ruling striking down a March 2018 order to extradite suspected Russian hacker Yevgeniy Nikulin to the United States. In a televised interview on Thursday, Mr Zeman said he warned former justice minister Robert Pelikán that the move was illegal – and accused him of being an American lackey.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has summoned Russia’s ambassador for talks
over the news that apartments for Russian diplomats are reportedly being
rented to third parties in Prague.
The ambassador was summoned following reports in the Czech media that thousands of apartments intended for diplomatic personnel were being leased to third party tenants, which is in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova previously said that the reports were based on local sources that “distort the truth.”
Czech President Miloš Zeman will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin
again at the end of next month, Seznam Zprávy reported. The two leaders
are expected to hold informal talks while both are in the Chinese capital
Beijing. Mr. Zeman will be in China between April 23 and 28 on what will be
his fifth visit to the country as Czech head of state.
The Czech president has cultivated warm relations with Moscow and Beijing since his election six years ago.
Respekt has just published a story which provides more detail on a recent successful intelligence operation carried out by country’s BIS counterintelligence service, an agency that has been criticised for incompetence by President Miloš Zeman. The weekly says that BIS shut down a group of Russian hackers, who were part of a wider international network, in early 2018.
Moscow will respond to the decision of the Czech authorities not to allow a
Russian Foreign Ministry official to enter the country, the ministry’s
spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
The man, who travelled to the Czech Republic as part of an official Russian delegation to participate in a meeting of the Russian-Czech intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation was refused entry to the Czech Republic "for security reasons". The incident happened on March 4.
Mrs Zakharova said that the “confrontational attack will not remain without an adequate response.”
On Monday, the Czech daily Deník N came out with a story that an official at the Russian Embassy is renting out hundreds of flats owned by the Czech state to tenants in Prague. The flats are available to the Russian state through a decades old agreement, but renting them to third persons may be breaking diplomatic rules.
The Russian Embassy in Prague has been profiting from the lease of hundreds
of flats in Prague 6 which were intended for Russian diplomats, Czech Radio
reported on Monday citing the news site Denik N.
The flats belong to the Czech state and were allotted to the Russian Embassy for its diplomats for an unspecified period of time before the fall of communism in 1989.
According to Denik N the flats are being leased to people without a contract and they are paying rent in cash directly to the Russian Embassy.
This activity is reportedly documented by a number of ads offering the flats for rent.
According to former Czech foreign minister Cyril Svoboda, it is in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.