A Prague official responsible for removing a statue of Marshal Konev urged Brussels to protect the EU against Moscow’s “interference” and “hybrid war,” playing the time-tested ‘Russia scare’ card that never fails to be effective.
Proving that a strong offense sometimes makes the best defense, head of Prague’s District 6 Ondrej Kolar wrote an open letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, according to Czech media.
He complained that the tearing down of a monument to Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev, whose troops put an end to the six-year Nazi occupation of the Czech capital back in 1945, had “provoked a completely inappropriate reaction from Russia.” Russian diplomats and other officials, Kolar offered, “are calling on Czech citizens to physically liquidate those who have their [fingerprints] on removing the statue.”
Moscow, which officially condemned the surprising act carried out by Prague authorities, is therefore meddling in the affairs of Prague and the Czech Republic as a whole, Kolar’s letter alleged.
Russia is also waging a “hybrid war” against the EU, he continued, as the letter took a turn and began to resemble a Cold War propaganda leaflet.
If Europe gives in to this pseudo-superpower pressure by the Eastern giant on clay feet, it will mean nothing more than a slow but certain collapse of liberal democracy.
But Kolar’s desperate attempts to drive a wedge between his country and Russia may well prove to be in vain, as the Czech government apparently isn’t too eager to see Moscow as an enemy.
Prague has sent a diplomatic note to the Russian capital, offering to start consultations in line with a treaty “on friendly relations and communications” between the two nations in order to try sorting things out, Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek told the parliament on Tuesday.
The minister called upon the MPs to “provide opportunities for diplomatic solutions” in disputes between the Czech Republic and Russia. Politicizing the removal of the monument to Konev and other similar issues may have a “counterproductive effect,” he warned.
Moscow hasn’t yet responded to the offer, but Petricek was quite optimistic as “the Russian side has only talked about such an opportunity in the media.” On Monday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry urged for dialogue with Czech Republic on the fate of Soviet World War II memorials in the country, to avoid a “worsening of the already difficult bilateral relations.”
The Konev statue was torn down in early April, with Kolar quipping that the decorated Soviet commander suffered this fate because “he didn’t have a mask on.” This offbeat rationale behind the removal was, for some reason, missing in his appeal to Brussels.
Moscow has described the act as a “dark day” in the history of Prague, the liberation of which cost roughly 12,000 Soviet lives back in 1945. Russian prosecutors have also launched a criminal case over the monument’s demolition.
This is not the first time Kolar has accused Russia of plotting revenge for his actions. Previously, the municipal official suggested there was a Moscow plot threatening his life. This coincided with media reports – resembling spy thrillers – which told of a visiting “Russian diplomat” whose briefcase was full of “the deadly poison ricin.” Russia ridiculed the reports, saying the whole affair looks “looks like another hoax.”
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