Czech press survey - March 29


29.03.2014 14:48

Prague - Friday´s election of Liberec regional governor Martin Puta as head of the Mayors and Independents´ Movement (STAN) confirmed what has been evident for some time now - that the alliance of STAN and the conservative TOP 09 party is falling apart, Petr Pesek writes in Lidove noviny (LN) today.


Šestý republikový sněm hnutí Starostové a nezávislí (STAN) 28. března v Průhonicích u Prahy. Na snímku je nový předseda hnutí STAN, liberecký hejtman Martin Půta. ČTK Vondrouš Roman

In the beginning, the alliance benefited both STAN and TOP 09. It helped TOP 09 gain influence in remote regions while STAN gained access to the central governing institutions including the TOP 09-controlled Finance Ministry which supervises the tax distribution system, Pesek writes.

However, the situation is different now that TOP 09 is in opposition and does not control the Finance Ministry any more.

Moreover, many Mayors would like to stop being linked to the figure of [TOP 09 deputy chairman and former finance minister] Miroslav Kalousek, who is quite unpopular in their respective towns and regions, Pesek writes.

TOP 09 may react to STAN´s dissociation by coming closer to the other right-wing opposition party, the Civic Democrats (ODS), Pesek says, adding that TOP 09 and the ODS stand ideologically close to each other regardless of the bad personal relations between their leaders.

It is a good news that the Brno-based Masaryk University (MU) rector Mikulas Bek has offered a lecturer´s post to Andrei Zubov, Russian historian who was sacked from Moscow´s MGIMO diplomatic institute over publicly comparing Vladimir Putin´s policy to Hitler´s, Alexandr Mitrofanov writes in daily Pravo.

Of course, the official reason for sacking Zubov was different. The MGIMO management blamed him for immoral behaviour, Mitrofanov adds.

Bek himself recently experienced disfavour of those in power whom he refused to yield. Last year, he was among several Czech university rectors "on the black list" drawn by President Milos Zeman because he criticised Zeman´s authoritarian approach or refusal to grant professorship to literary scholar Martin C.Putna, Mitrofanov writes.

Bek defends academic freedoms against expanding political power and therefore it is logical that he, along with the MU´s Faculty of Social Sciences, has offered help to the persecuted Russian colleague, Mitrofanov says.

For now Zubov has said he does not want to leave Russia, on principle. Nevertheless, it is good that is has the chance and that the academicians from Brno have acted dignifiedly on behalf of the Czech Republic, Mitrofanov concludes.

The Czech nation is forgetful and ungrateful, Jiri Hanak writes elsewhere in Pravo, referring to Prague´s reactions to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

When the EU grants subsidies worth hundreds of billions of crowns to Czechs, they accept it as a matter of course or even as the only sense of the Czech membership in the EU.

If the EU suspends customs duties for imported Ukrainian goods in an instant aid to the pilfered Ukrainian state coffers, the Czechs, annoyed, complain about being economically damaged, Hanak writes.

When tens of thousands of Czechs fled abroad following the August 21, 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, they were friendly welcomed in the neighbouring states.

At present, however, the Czechs feel indignant in face of the prospect of refugees flowing in from Ukraine if the Ukrainian developments resulted in a catastrophe, Hanak writes.

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