Czech press survey - March 15


15.03.2014 13:26

Prague - Russia will probably control only Crimea, although it is rumoured that Russian tanks will start occupying east Ukraine as soon as the referendum on Crimea´s future ends on Sunday, Michal Mocek, writes in daily Pravo today.


Proukrajinští demonstranté s obří vlajkou země protestují v Charkově. ČTK/AP Segey Kozlov

However, the first possibility seems more likely and less risky, he says.

But disillusion may come to Russia after some time. Moscow may score a geopolitical Pyrrhic victory unless it succeeds in gaining support of some of the new Kiev leaders through oligarchs, Mocek writes.

This would actually mean that Russia would lose Ukraine for generations, he notes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may pay for Crimea, where Russia had a naval base anyway, by a principal loss of control over the developments in the Ukrainian capital, Mocek says.

Russian media presenting different views than Vladimir Putin have been liquidated for several years, Alexandr Mitrofanov says elsewhere in Pravo, adding that the Russian censorship authority blocked or deleted websites of opposition leaders Garri Kasparov and Alexei Navalny on Thursday.

The news server has recently been destroyed and the TV Dozhd has been economically suppressed. There are only a few unbiased media remaining in Russia, Mitrofanov writes.

He says Czech Internet has been a discussion forum of citizens of various age groups. Even those who call for a firm hand rule and a ban on democratic debate use the freedom of expression on the net, he adds.

Mitrofanov says Czech politicians often criticise Czech media for expressing positions they do not like, which is a healthy process.

The Czech president, prime minister and government do not take repressive steps against media that oppose their political actions or plans, Mitrofanov writes.

The comparison of the different situation of Czech and Russian media may seem pointless, he says.

But the new aggressive politics of the Russian regime means a desire to expand its ways of functioning beyond the borders of the Russian Federation, Mitrofanov writes.

He says this need not be done by military force.

Under certain conditions it may be enough to have people supporting Putin because of their ignorance or their sincere admiration in individual countries, he adds.

There have been repeated attempts to reform the Social Demoratic Party (CSSD), Martin Zverina says in Lidove noviny (LN), recalling the party´s former leaders Vladimir Spidla and Jiri Paroubek in relation to a conference on a deeper reform of the CSSD organised by its chairman Bohuslav Sobotka today.

The Social Democrats would certainly need to undergo a change, but the debate usually has the form of flowery resolutions that lead to the same old procedures, Zverina writes.

The CSSD can be changed only if the party members change, but one cannot turn sharks into vegetarians by having a "serious discussion" with them, he says.

The now opposition Civic Democratic Party (ODS) shows the difficulty of such a process of change. Five months after the ODS´s election failure nobody is still willing to bet on its survival, Zverina writes.

Many have doubts that Sobotka´s centre-left government will rule the country for more than a year, he says.

Sobotka does not want his party to follow the example of the ODS that was ruined by its godfathers, being aware of numbers of dubious lobbyists close to the Social Democrat regional offices and the authorities deciding on the distribution of European subsidies, Jan Vesely says in Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD).

Sobotka also wants the rank-and-file to have more influence on the decision making in the party and to attract promising personalities from regions that have recently been preferring various protest movements to traditional parties, Vesely writes.

He says Sobotka should focus on the region of Usti nad Labem, north Bohemia. His task will be easier after the controversial boss of the CSSD Usti branch, Roman Houska, was murdered last November, Vesely adds.

Houska thus stopped influencing the regional developments, dealing with subsidies, promising help to friends and controlling his partner, former regional governor Jana Vanhova, Vesely writes.

It is far from standard that no Social Democrat wanted to be mayor of Usti and Labem after the CSSD won the latest municipal election, he writes.

The CSSD has no personalities, no ideas and no drive in this region. If the party does not change, it will suffer a debacle, Vesely concludes.

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