A group of people wearing masks attacked the Czech Embassy in Moscow on
Sunday, days after the removal of a statue of Red Army commander Ivan Konev
in Prague. A sign with the slogan Stop Fascism was placed on the fence of
the embassy and a number of smoke bombs were thrown into its grounds.
The Russian TV station REN said the incident had come in response to the removal of the statue of Konev.
A group named Other Russia said they were responsible for the attack and declared on their website “Our tanks will be in Prague!”
The Embassy of the Russian Federation in Prague says it considers the removal of the statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev by Prague 6 municipal authorities to be in violation of the Czech-Russian Friendship Agreement from 1993 and has issued a protest to the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a Facebook post, the embassy wrote that the Czech side thereby broke one of the provisions which state that the Czech Republic will protect Russian military memorials. The embassy went on to say that the "demolition of I. S. Konev's statue will be met with an adequate reaction from the Russian side". Prague 6 says it will now put the statue into storage after which it will be eventually moved into the capital's planned Museum of the 20th Century.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has criticised the
decision of the Prague authorities to rename the city square in front of
Russia’s embassy in honour of slain Russian opposition figure Boris
The square was renamed on February 27, on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of Nemtsov’s killing, while a nearby pathway was named after investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, shot to death in 2006.
Mrs Zakharova has called the act absurd and inexplicable, adding that similar steps, which try to influence domestic policy in other countries, infringe on international law.
The city of Prague on Thursday bowed to the courage of Russian pro-democracy activists who laid down their lives in the quest for human rights. The square Pod kastany where the Russian Embassy stands was officially renamed after the slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov and a nearby promenade was named after investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya shot to death in 2006. Among those watching the ceremony was Nemtsov’s daughter Zhanna and one of Politkovskaya’s former colleagues.
In the previous episodes of the Czechs in Brexit Britain series, we explored what worries the local Czech community about Brexit and the new business ties the country is trying to establish with Britain. In our closing feature we will look closer at the Czech community itself and some of the clubs and institutions that they have built in the United Kingdom.
Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček says all constitutional
officials should agree on the country’s official stance towards a January
letter from the Chinese Embassy which warned Prague China could harm Czech
business interests if a planned Senate trip to Taiwan went ahead.
After meeting with Senate Chair Miloš Vystrčil on Wednesday, Mr Petříček said that he will prepare a draft statement which will then be discussed with other constitutional officials in March. Thus far, some officials have condemned the letter, while others have chosen not to comment.
China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province to be reunified with the mainland one day and therefore protested vehemently in the letter to what it saw as an “extremely inappropriate” trip that “carries the signs of an official visit”.
The State Security Council has recommended that Czech citizens not visit
the Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto because of an outbreak of
Covid-19. People should also weigh up going anywhere abroad at the present
time in view of the coronavirus epidemic, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said
after a meeting of the council on Tuesday evening. Its members did not
consider curtailing large arts or sports events in the Czech Republic.
The prime minister said any Czechs who returned from abroad and started feeling symptoms consistent with those caused by Covid-19 should immediately contact a doctor, ideally by telephone.
The minister of foreign affairs, Tomáš Petříček, called on Czechs planning to travel to other countries to register with his government department through a voluntary system on its website.
Thirty years ago on this day, February 21, then Czechoslovak president Václav Havel addressed a specially convened joint session of the United States Congress. Only a few months earlier, Havel was in prison. Paradoxically, he devoted much of his historic speech that day appealing to Washington to help – not Czechoslovakia but the Soviet Union. Doing so, he said, was the best hope to ensure newfound freedoms.
Britain is currently the Czech Republic’s fifth largest export market and a successful conclusion to post-Brexit trade negotiations is therefore a top priority for Czech diplomats. However, Czechs are also trying to tap in to new business opportunities in the UK and the British government’s promises to invest in its northern infrastructure and hospitals have been identified as potential new avenues for exports.
The US ambassador to Prague, Stephen King, has warned Czech deputies
against introducing a government-proposed digital tax of seven percent,
which would primarily hurt large US companies.
In a letter to the lower house, cited by the daily Hospodarske noviny, Mr. King says a 7 percent tax is discriminatory and warns that the US could effect retaliatory measures. He says it would be wiser to wait for broader regulation agreed on by the OECD.
Czech exporters also recently urged Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to reconsider the government’s proposal to introduce a digital tax. They said they feared damage to Czech-American business relations and possible retaliatory measures from the US administration.
The proposed digital tax of seven percent would apply to Internet companies in the Czech Republic with a global turnover of over 750 million euros (about 19 billion crowns), and domestic sales of at least 100 million crowns per year for taxable services.
It would hit companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. The tax, which should come into effect later this year, is expected to bring about five billion crowns a year to state coffers.
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