Czech press survey - March 10


10.03.2014 07:40

Prague - It is embarrassing that Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky rules out other than diplomatic ways to solve the Crimean crisis now that thousands of Russian occupiers have invaded Crimea, from where first armed clashes have been reported, Petr Pesek writes in Lidove noviny (LN).


Ministr obrany Martin Stropnický (ANO) ČTK Eret Petr

In a television debate on Sunday, Stropnicky (ANO) correctly recalled that the Crimean case is not the first "adventure" of Russia. However, when asked whether a similar scenario may repeat in the Baltic countries, he said it is unnecessary to "demonise anyone´s hypothetical expansiveness," Pesek writes.

True, there is no need to demonise things, but Prague should make it clear that Russia´s conduct cannot be tolerated. Stropnicky should have said, for example, that Prague is even ready to use military to face such behaviour, Pesek writes.

On the other hand, Stropnicky correctly openly spoke of a "puppet Crimean government" and "Russia´s military presence" in Crimea that goes far beyond what could be called domestic home guards, Pesek says.

Moreover, it would be unfair not to mention Stropnicky´s recent protest against Russia´s possible participation in completing the Czech nuclear power plant Temelin, Pesek adds.

Czech President Milos Zeman clearly sides with Israel in its dispute with Palestinians but he is cautious when in comes to his stance on the controversial Russian aggression in Ukraine, Petr Fischer writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN).

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD), too, has taken a "balanced" position on the Russian-Ukrainian dispute, Fischer writes.

Sobotka has even been praised for his stance by the CSSD lawmakers. They said they clearly they support the moral claim [by Ukraine] but they definitely would not like to lose [Czech] economic advantages. In other words, they say "no" to aggression but they are unwilling to exert pressure on Russia, Fischer says.

It is like with China. Czechs dislike China´s practice of executing innocent people, but they eagerly buy China-made clothes and electronics. They prefer sacrificing Chinese people to sacrificing Czech money, raw materials and trade balance, Fischer writes.

It is a "beautiful new world of modern diplomacy - full of strong human words and cowardly, mean and selfish deeds," Fischer concludes.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) is trying to defend the Czech Republic´s interests in the debate on the Crimean crisis and he repeats that Czech-Russian trade must be preserved, Alexandr Mitrofanov writes in daily Pravo.

Sobotka´s position is far from a hawk. He speaks calmly, firmly as someone who has a plan to keep to. Maybe he could do more in his capacity as prime minister, but his performance cannot annoy anyone except for staunch Europhobes and Vladimir Putin´s fans, Mitrofanov writes.

Unlike Sobotka, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) shows a rather unclear position on the Crimean crisis. In a television debate this weekend he gave no clear answer to almost any of the interviewer´s questions, Mitrofanov writes.

The only clear message of Stropnicky was that NATO will remain inactive. The news was immediately released by the Russian news agency RIA. Stropnicky thus became a part of information war, which may be unplanned by the NATO allies, Mitrofanov says.

Of course, NATO will not wage a war that no one wants, However, no authorised official said it that clearly before Stropnicky, Mitrofanov points out.

Politics can be done as politics, or as company management, or as theatre, he adds, alluding to Stropnicky´s original profession as an actor and to ANO chairman and Finance Minister Andrej Babis´s previous words that he would manage the state like a private company.


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