A reset in Czech-Chinese relations in 2014, that included a commitment to the “One China policy” promised to bring huge economic benefits, with President Zeman saying he wanted to make the Czech Republic “China’s gateway to Europe”. Five years on, the promised investments have not materialized and there is growing concern in Prague over Beijing’s effort to increase its influence in the country.
The local council of Prague’s western Řeporyje district has unanimously voted in favour of building a memorial to the Russian Liberation Army troops that helped fight Nazi forces during the Prague Uprising in May 1945. The vote was preceded by a heated confrontation between the district’s mayor and representatives of the Russian federation about the historical legacy of the troops often referred to in Czech as “Vlasovci”.
The local Council of Prague’s Řeporyje district unanimously voted to
erect a memorial to the fallen solders of the Russian Liberation Army
(Vlasovci), who took part in the liberation of Prague from Nazi Germany
during the final days of World War Two. The monument should be finished in
2020, on the 75th anniversary of the war and, according to the local mayor
Pavel Novotny, will be protected by a camera surveillance system and
anti-graffiti coating. The Russian embassy in Prague and Russian diplomacy
had previously objected to the construction of the monument. The Russian
embassy in Prague has protested against the construction of the memorial in
recent weeks, calling it an “absolutely mad initiative” which helps
The Russian Liberation Army was a military unit made up of citizens of the Soviet Union, often desperate prisoners of war, who had been recruited to fight on the German side during the last years of the war.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček and Czech ambassadors abroad this week
are hosting breakfast meetings with human rights and democracy campaigners
to honour a famous French gesture of support for Czechoslovak dissidents
The meetings commemorate a famous breakfast at Prague’s Embassy in Paris on December 9, 1988, when then French president François Mitterrand held talks with Czechoslovak dissidents in a significant gesture of support.
Mitterrand had invited dissidents and Charter 77 signatories, including Václav Havel, to the French embassy for the meeting during a visit to Czechoslovakia earlier that year.
The French president’s visit helped spur the Czechoslovak regime to grant official permission for an opposition rally to be held on Human Rights Day on December 10, 1988 in Prague's Žižkov district.
Prague City Hall councillors have agreed is conclude a Free Cities Pact
with the other Visegrad Four group capitals aimed at strengthening
The mayors of Prague, Budapest, Bratislava and Warsaw agreed to create the pact on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The Free Cities Pact calls on signatories to work together to tackle problems such as climate change, housing and social policy, and to promote democratic ideals, human rights, and the rule of law.
Representatives of the V4 capitals are due to sign the pact on December 16 in Hungary. Prague also wants to sign a sister city pact with Vienna, concerning mainly transport, housing and ecological issues.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček on Thursday praised Ukraine for
taking steps to resolve the conflict in the east of the country against
pro-Russian separatists on the basis of the Minsk Agreement.
Speaking on the margins of an OSCE conference in the Slovak capital, Bratislava, he said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had taken positive unilateral steps to open the door to advancing peace talks, including withdrawing heavy weapons from the region.
Petříček’s counterpart, Vadym Prystaiko, plans to make an official visit to the Czech Republic in early February 2020, when the speakers of the countries’ parliaments are also expected to make bilateral visits.
The foreign ministers also discussed the holding of the first meeting of the Czech-Ukrainian expert forum and the ninth meeting of the Czech- Ukrainian intergovernmental commission on economic, industrial, scientific and technical cooperation.
The Czech Republic will increase its contribution to the NATO budget by
about ten percent as of next year, the CTK news agency reported, citing
defence ministry sources.
The country is currently contributing 580 million crowns and should pay around 620 million as of 2020.
NATO member states agreed to increase their individual contributions after the US, which had been contributing the lion’s share for years, announced it would be lowering its input.
The funding of the alliance and defence spending will be the main focus of an upcoming NATO summit in London next week.
The Czech Republic will be represented by President Miloš Zeman, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček, Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar and Czech Ambassador to NATO Jakub Landovský.
The Russian Foreign Ministry says administrative mistakes were the reason
why a Czech delegation led by Agriculture Minister Miroslav Toman was
denied permission to fly from Moscow to Kazan this week.
The Czech delegation, which was to meet with Tatarstan officials and business leaders, cancelled the visit after waiting ten hours at Moscow airport and flew back to Prague.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the Czech delegation had failed to comply with the customs regulations of the Eurasian Economic Union, adding that this was not the first time such problems had arisen.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček has accepted the explanation saying he would initiate talks with the Russian side to make sure such problems do not reoccur.
He added however that, with a bit of goodwill on the Russian side, the administrative hurdle could have been overcome.
This week’s release of the Czech Security Information Service’s (BIS) annual report was widely covered by Czech media and even some foreign outlets. What stood out was the considerable amount of detail that the public version contained on Russian and Chinese spying operations in the country last year. So what are these two states up to? And what are their reasons?
Czech Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Toman has prematurely ended his
five-day visit to Russia, the daily e15 reported on Thursday. Mr Toman, who
was accompanied by a delegation of Czech entrepreneurs, was supposed to fly
from Moscow to Kazan on Wednesday, but the Russian authorities prevented
him from doing so.
Mr Toman told the daily he was alarmed by the attitude of the Russian side, adding that it raised the question whether Russia was genuinely interested in cooperation with the Czech Republic.
Czech-Russian relations have been strained by a number of incidents in recent months, including the renting out of flats intended for Russian diplomats and the decision of Prague 6 to remove from its premises a statue of the controversial Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev.
Archaeologists unearth seven graves dating back to Great Moravian Empire
Czech biochemist involved in developing potential coronavirus treatment
“Einstein in Bohemia” – Part II: how alienation in ‘half-barbaric’ Prague led him to a new theory of gravity, eventual love of a free Czechoslovakia
“Einstein in Bohemia” – part 1: how a Prague sojourn sparked his theory of general relativity, journey of self-discovery
Valentine’s Day 1945 - When the Americans bombed Prague