Russia: You Czechs Belong to the Eastern Europe

The foreign minister Sergej Lavrov expressed Moscow still perceives the Czech Republic as a sphere of Russian interest. Why? It happened, again, because of the radar. Karel Schwarzenberg wanted to explain a news reporter, who asked a question where he formulated ‘eastern Europe’. Schwarzenberg replied: “At first, we should make clear the Czech Republic doesn’t lie in the Eastern, but in the Middle Europe.” His comment was nevertheless more for the Russians. “and I want to add” he continued “that the radar is not, in any case, aimed to be targeted against the Russians”

Than, Lavrov took the floor “Unfortunately, I have to remind you, that according to regional groups OSA the Czech Republic and Poland lies in the Eastern, not in the Middle Europe.” He said, clearly devising to what Russians claim the whole time; Czech Republic and Poland have to realise, they are still in Russian sphere of influence. Even when Schwarzenberg laughed at it later, some after-taste remains.


Clinton decides to shelve the Czech Radar

Hillary Clinton comes with her wide smile, Czech Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg by her side. And she announces: The new American government turns the streer. The anti-rocket shield is no longer important to it. “We may return to the question” she keeps the back door opened “but now, we are very far from doing it.” They are starting diplomatic relations with Iran, so the country the radar was intended to protect us against could become an ally. The US and Iran have not been communicating for thirty years.

Minister Schwarzenberg didn’t put a surprised expression on the press conference. He already predicted the radar negotiations are going to be delayed. So, how it is possible to explain the rhetoric? One of the explanations is, the US want to save money during the financial crisis. The second, Iran and Russia can really became countries which won’t, by rhetoric, armament or secrecy, make the world fear them.


Paroubek now against Communists, a new twist

The chairman of the Social Democrats Jiri Paroubek surprised by unusually sharp critique of Czech Communists. “We have sufficient reasons against any attempts for government partnership of CSSD and KSCM.” Paroubek again confirmed his reputation of a politician unsure in the political spectra. It was him who in 2006 supported the idea of cooperation with the communists.

The leader of Social Democrats writes in this weekend report for his party that the shift to communists would be ‘a political suicide’. But it is him who invited the Communists to government in regions after the win in regional elections. He however wrote: “The Czech Communist party have been insufficiently critical to their part and criminal essence of Stalinism. Any movement of CSSD towards KSCM would be a political suicide for CSSD.” Strange coming from the leader of the party which governs the regions together with the Communists…

Schwarzenberg negotiates in USA today

Schwarzenberg went to the US for an assurance that the new American government under the lead of Barack Obama intends to continue in the program of the anti-rocket shield in the area of Poland and Czech Republic. Today, he is going to talk with Hillary Clinton, who is the leader of American diplomacy since January. It seemed recently, like if the Americans wanted to retreat from the contracts in order of making new ones with Russia, those about disarmament.

Speculations, that the US could avoid the construction were however quite reduced, when on Saturday the American Vice-president said Obama is not giving up on the anti-rocket shield. Schwarzenberg is one of the first Foreign Ministers who meets Clinton in her new function. They haven’t talked together officially for some time, but they did when Schwarzenberg worked for the ex-president Vaclav Havel. As he says “We know each other. Or more precisely, I am one of the million of people she knows.”


Russia welcomes warming negotiations with USA

The United States and Russia relations, which were ice aged last year, now come to a thaw. The Russian vice-prime minister Sergei Ivanov appreciated the offer of Joe Biden to ‘restart’ the collective cooperation, made on Saturday on 45th security conference in Munchen.

The Russian politician also repeated that Moscow is prepared to negotiate about the anti-rocket shield in Europe. Kremlin offers the White House cooperation with judging the security risks with judging security dangers and united anti-rocket shield instead of anti-rockets in Poland and Czech Radar. And if USA don’t build, Russia reputedly won’t fulfil their threat to put their Iskander rockets by the Polish border.

Biden Promised that the government of the new American President Obama is going to, as the opposite to the G.W. Bush government, cooperate more with their western allies and with Russia.


Obama Prepares Disarmament, What About Czech Radar?

The end of plans for US radar base in the Czech Republic? According to the report of yesterday edition of British edition of The Times this scenario is probable. The American President Barrack Obama want to reduce the number of strategic nuclear weapons, which USA and Russia have. Even if happens, both countries would still dominate world in the number of their arsenal. Obama wants to reduce them of 80%. Still, they would have over thousand rockets available.

Russians didn’t wait with their response – on the very day the vice prime minister Sergej Ivanov announced Moscow is “without any doubts” ready to sign a new agreement.

The planned radar base is something Russians don’t want to allow in the Czech Republic. The Americans haven’t abandoned the plan yet, but freezing the project could make Russians more helpful. The Times has informed Obama wants to create a special office led by Gary Samore, who negotiated about rockets reduction during the reign of Bill Clinton.


Czech Regional Hospitals quit collecting 30czk charges

So here it is – one of the things CSSD won the regional elections with was they offered people the end of regulation charges in symbolic height, the system which helped many doctors from redundant patients, on the contrary the regional hospitals and polyclinics haven’t seen a change, but at least it brought money to the health budget. How much? About 700 mil czk.

The policy of country marshalls brought critique of economists and the Ministry of Finance. Specialists see repaying the charges at the time o the crisis as ineffective spending. “That this take place at the time of crisis underlines the absurdity.” said the finance minister Kalousek. Not even an economist Jiri Rusnok, who is a member of CSSD who put the idea through don’t think it is wise. “It is a product of a political decision.”


Czech Communists gathered to protest against Radar

More than a thousand people demonstrated against the planned US Radar base in the Czech republic. It was communists who organized the meeting at Paladskeho Namesti. At the end of their protest march they handled a letter on the USA Embassy. The letter was addressed to Barrack Obama.

Of course, as it is common during those events, nobody openly admitted that the very possibility to assemble and demonstrate is a democratic privilege, which the Czech Republic have thanks to the fact we didn’t let the communists in power.

“We assume, that by building a military radar station the Czech Republic and their citizens became a tool of one-side economical, military and international politics of the USA.” the letter says.

It is strange that in the time when Russia is as puffed as a pouted pigeon and variously attacks surrounding countries either physically, or by blackmailing them, there is still a certain group who would love to unite with them.


Russia changed its mind – no rockets in Kaliningrad yet

Iskander Rocket The Russian government holds their plans for locating the rockets Iskander in Kaliningrad by Polish borders, Interfax agency announced it with appeal to one unnamed source among high grade representatives of the Russian army.

Moscow wanted to install Iskander rockets on the most west part of Russia- in Kaliningrad enclave squished among Poland and Latvia – as an answer to antiorocket bases in Poland and radar in the Czech Republic.

Probably it is a reaction of Russians to Barack Obama being the new US president.

“We discontinue our plans to build rocket base in Kaliningrad, because the new American administrative has decided not to hurry with their plans on building the anti-rocket shield in the Eastern Europe.” Interfax quotes the general.


Libertas.cz registered by Vladimir Zelezny in CR

The Euro-parliamentarian Vladimir Zelezny, who became renowned by successfully building the first private Czech Television Nova, and later by a long lawsuit about copyrights, which cost the CR about 10 billions fine, doesn’t really care about copyrights – he registered the Euro-skeptic party Libertas in Prague, without asking the founder of the original Libertas, Declan Ganley.

For the server iDnes Zelezny said about Ganley that “… he is charismatic, interesting, very able in business … if he just wasn’t so naive” and so he founded ‘his’ Libertas without letting him know. If asked if he is going to cooperate with Libertas, Zelezny says he can, but doesn’t have to cooperate with them. “We have our own Ganley in the person of Vaclav Klaus. He is our model.”

Zelezny said he is not aspiring to be the number one on the list of candidates, he however doesn’t deny it. He is clear about one thing though – Ganley won’t have any authority in the Czech brunch of ‘his’ euro skeptic party.

Moscow and Kiev gas agreement

Transit through Ukraine is to be renewed in shortest time, Putin promised after long night negotiations. The Prime Ministers of both countries Vladimir Putin and Yulia Timoshenko have finally made an agreement this weekend, an agreement which should unblock the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to Europe.

In the moment contracts will be ready, the gas can start flowing. But it is not possible to say, whether there will be any new complication like so many previous times. Putin and Timosenko said they are going to watch the contracts being subscribed, but what is going to do i.e. Ukrainian president Victor Juscenko who has sharp disputes with his prime minister.

The development of the last days proves Moscow have it, once again, their way, and that the power is firmly in the hands of Vladimir Putin and not the Russian President Dimitri Medvedev. Putin demonstrated again Russia is not going to – like in the case of Georgia – make nay compromises. He doesn’t mind the west turning against him.


Russian Gas Didn't Arrive to EU... Why?

At first, it seems crystal clear. Ukraine doesn’t want to pay world prices of gas to Russia, and so it blackmails Moscow by stopping the transit through its territory, respectively by stealing so much from Russian supplies to Europe Ukrainians wouldn’t freeze and Kiev could negotiate better price with Moscow.

Maybe we could believe that, if that wouldn’t be the case of business run almost solely by mafia, if we could say there is democracy in Russia, and not the “sovereign democracy” which is only a facade. So the whole action with stopping the gas seen in wider context brings new explanations.

The whole matter can be nothing but a performance of Kremlin with three base aims – to corrupt Ukrainian convergence with the EU, punish Kiev for the December agreement with the USA about strategic partnership and to put through expensive and problematic project of Baltic gas main.


Humorous Mosaic made Bulgarians angry

Bulgaria is going to send a protest note about the plastic of the artist David Cerny called Entropia. Sofia principally protests against the map which symbolises Bulgaria being created like if compounded of squat toilets. The vice-prime minister Vondra, who is supposed to ceremonially show the sculpture tomorrow, was taken by surprise as well. He said they consider further steps.

Bulgarian officials were criticizing the decoration of Czech Chairmanship really hard yesterday. According to their speaker Betina Jovevo it is “extremely offensive”. The author of the art piece is Czech artist David Cerny, even when it was originally supposed to be created by 27 artists of all the union countries. But Cerny admitted he made the sculpture with two of his friends, and the names of 27 other artists were made up. So he has responsibility for what is going to happen now. We will know on Thursday.


Gas still not flowing to the EU, Russia blames Ukraine

The gas crisis is probably not over yet, Russian gas still doesn’t flow to Europe. According to Gazprom the problem is Ukraine, which reportedly block the way of gas to Europe. The ITAR-TASS agency stated Gazprom slowly started to restore the supply of gas, which goes through Ukraine, for European customers. But as no gas arrived, bot the quarrelled sides blame each other for who is responsible for the contemporary situation.

One of the states, who suffers from the Russian-Ukrainian dispute the most is Slovakia. The conflict put their government in front of Sophie’s Choice; either to start the second block of nuclear plant in Jaslovske Bohunice and count with lawsuit from the side of European commission, or to listen to the EK and de facto threaten not only their business, but also their citizens.

Russia ended gas transport last Wednesday 7th January, assuming that Ukrainians have been consuming gas intended for Europe. Situation in some countries is critical, biggest problems have Bulgaria and Moldavia. The crisis is going to accelerate construction of other gas routes from other countries and demonstrates Russian power.


Two New Czech Political Parties

They are new, right-hand and have opposite programmes. The first one is called Strana svobodných občanů (SSO) – the Party of Free Citizens and the second one is Liberálové.cz (LIB) – Liberals.

The SSO programme is against the Lisbon treaty of the EU, also it demands referendum for the question of Euro Adoption.

The first aim of SSO is to succeed in June Euroelections. The new party has a ram on green background in their logo. This animal, according to their chairman Mach symbolises the way to freedom and new beginning. Ram is also resolute and systematic.

The LIB party comes with the idea of forming United European States. They feel there is a great number of liberal-thinking voters, who don’t find an advocate for them.

The Liberals also endorse the ‘new generation’ of politicians, who are devoted to European integration and are not burdened with corruption scandals of the past. LIB also aims to succeeding in elections to the European parliament.

Cunek and Jelinek leave Czech government, change coming?

The promised changes in government the coalition has been talking about are finally going to happen. The vice-prime minister and local development minister Jiri Cunek has announced he leaves all the government seats. goodbye cunek On his post moves the present leader of legislative government committee Cyril Svoboda. The prime minister than withdrew two ODS ministers, Tomas Julinek from health resort and Ales Rebicek from traffic resort.

The leader of the greens Martin Bursik welcomes the development, his party have announced earlier Dzamila Stehlikova is going to be replaced in the cabinet by Michael Kocab on the post of minister of human rights. The political scene has also seen a bonus – yesterday the pro-European Liberalove (Liberals) and euro-Skeptical Svobodni (Free) joined the struggle for votes. The two right-wing parties have completely opposite programmes.

Czechs and huge Entropia sculpture

The art-piece of Czech artist David Cerny has attracted considerable number of fans. Czechs have introduced the huge plastic Entropia, which refers to stereotypes connected to the 27 countries of the EU. The visitors of the European Committee building can check Austria hidden under cooling towers of Nuclear plants, flooded Holland from which minarets pop out, the Czech Republic where quotes of Vaclav Klaus on a display run, or Bulgaria with a huge squat toilet.

“I don’t like it at all” can be heard from the crowd scanning the massive Euro-puzzle, which father is Czech artist David Cerny. “It is great, I think it represents the countries well” Says an Italian employee of the Silvio council. “Well, you have sense of humor” smiles a Bulgarian employee of one of the European institution, looking at the Bulgaria plastic.

And what does the artist David Cerny think? “Self-reflection, critical spirit and the ability to perceive oneself and the surrounding world with the sense of irony belongs to Europe and its thinking.” Source:LN


New Czech Political Party

The new political party in the Czech Republic wants to attract especially those who do not vote regularly. The name is Strana svobodných občanů – SSO (The party of free citizens). The party, among others, disapproves the Lisbon treaty reforming EU, also it demands referendum for Euro adoption.

Petr Mach, a close cooperative of Vaclav Klaus, also published the program and constitution on a press conference, with the estimate personal compound of the political group. Three from six members of the leading team have finished their career in ODS recently, in 2008. How much the party is connected to Klaus symbolises, beside the chairman Mach himself, the ex-representative of ODS and contemporary Klaus’s advisor Jiri Payne.

As Mach stated on the press conference, the new party is here for “…people, who were frustrated by contemporary possibilities in elections and situation in the parliament and they didn’t have anyone to vote for.” They would like to fill in the gap.

Putin Shows the Real Russia: Gas Stopped

Serious contract relationship with Russia we all take for granted shakes. But this situation is not new – it repeats almost every winter; concerning Ukraine, Belorussia or now a significant part of Europe, creating the picture of complete unreliability. We, as consumers, at the end don’t need to know, what is behind it, if it is an effort of Moscow to check Kiev, or Kiev effort to check Moscow, or Russian effort to divide Europe. All we want to know, whether the contracts about gas work or not. And Russia does everything to demonstrate, what the reality and risks of this relationship are.

It this world, where Israel fights in Gaza, Saudi Arabia warns against oil embargo towards the Jewish state, the more to Europe! So the question, which source of gas is less secure, was well answered by Putin. The other question is, who wants to hear the answer in our country. If somebody wasn’t moved by Russian actions against Georgia, this probably won’t shake him any more. For the rest, Putin’s stressing with gas is only one of many proofs Russia is not a serious partner at all.


Financial Times: Klaus resembles Svejk

From all the Czech national heroes, the Czech President Klaus resembles, with his bizarre aversion against the authorities and by the shape of his head, the Good Solider Svejk the most. At least the leader of Brussels branch of the Financial Times Tony Barber says so on the blog part of the Times.

Klaus has turned away from conventions, when he demonstrated his disgust towards the Lisbon treaty and European institutions reform, which are documents Barroso and most of political leaders are deeply devoted to.

“… Klaus is not Vaclav Havel, his presidential ancestor … he is not the medieval martyr Jan Hus nor Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, the founder of Czechoslovak state, whose statue was behind Klaus when he held a speech from the Castle. Klaus resembles somebody completely different. Klaus is a smart guy, but by his bizarre aversion against the authorities, feeling of solidarity towards the small players and his head shape, he is the version of the Good Solider Svejk of the 21st Century” Barber closes.