Author`s name Lyuba Lulko

Czech Republic dances to someone else's tune to bury its relations with Russia

The Czech Republic wants to aggravate its relations with Russia even further. The Czech authorities have detained a Russian citizen, Alexander Franchetti, on a warrant from Ukraine. Russia is limited in its capabilities to help the man.

Crimean Spring participant detained in Prague

Alexander Franchetti, a Russian citizen, was detained on Sunday, September 12, at Prague airport on a warrant issued by Ukraine.

"Based on the international arrest warrant issued by Ukraine, a citizen of the Russian Federation was detained at the airport,” a spokesman for the Czech police said.

The Czech police have refused to publish additional information about the arrested individual.

Nikolai Bryakin, a spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Prague, confirmed the information. The embassy sent a consular officer to provide the detainee with all the necessary assistance. The embassy also maintains contacts with the Franchetti family, Bryakin said.

In 2019, Czech publication irozhlas.cz published a detailed report about Franchetti's activities during the Crimean Spring, based on his own story about it on the Internet.

"Our group was pursuing the goal to prevent various groups from infiltrating the territory of Sevastopol. We divided the area into sections where there were patrols, both mobile and stationary ones. We were watching the surroundings, the movement of cars, unusual vehicles, and looking for shelter," Franchetti said indicating that all the information was transferred to the command of the Russian Navy.

The Czech publication wrote that the Russian had had a residence permit in the Czech Republic since 2000 and warned that Franchetti was being watched by special services, as his case was "being considered" by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

"If it turns out that a foreigner with a valid residence permit poses a threat to the security of the Czech Republic, all legal means will be used to ensure the safety of Czech citizens. These means include, for example, a possibility of abolishing residence permit for such an individual,” a ministry spokesman told the publication.

Two years later, the Russian citizen was arrested on a warrant from Ukraine.

The Czech Republic does not act independently

Vladimir Olenchenko, a senior researcher at the Center for European Studies at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, told Pravda.Ru that Franchetti was not a new face on the Czech territory. The man had lived there and enjoyed all the benefits. The fact that he was detained demonstrates that the Czech authorities dance to someone else's tune.

Such actions cut any prospects for Prague to improve the Russian-Czech relations, although not that long ago Czech officials spoke in favour of their normalisation.

"This contributes to the lack of confidence in the Czech authorities, because it is difficult to predict their actions," said Vladimir Olenchenko.

The expert is sure that the Russian side will draw conclusions accordingly.

"It goes about the Russian citizen. Of course, the Russian side will do everything possible not to violate his rights," the expert told Pravda.Ru.

Dmitry Labin, Professor of the Department of International Law, Doctor of Law at MGIMO (Department of International Law) noted in a comment for Pravda.Ru that from a legal point of view, the Russian Federation does not have many opportunities and capabilities to fight for the rights of its citizen.

They are limited to diplomatic means and possibly assistance in hiring lawyers.

"Each citizen is responsible for their own life, they should take care of their own defense themselves, but the state, of course, should not abandon its citizens in a difficult situation. There were incidents, when a state, taking its citizen under diplomatic protection, urged another state to bring its conduct in accordance with international law through the use of all possible means of peaceful regulation of disputes," said Dmitry Labin.

Russia can help before the man is delivered to Ukraine, since it goes about the extradition of a person suspected of committing a crime on the territory of a foreign state. This procedure, as a rule, is considered through a local court and also takes time.

"At this stage, of course, the Russian diplomatic mission and the consulate should provide all kinds of legal support in order to prove that there are no grounds either for charges or extradition," Dmitry Labin told Pravda.Ru.

Alexander Molokhov, the head of the working group on international legal issues at the permanent representation of Crimea, said that residents of Russia could be abducted abroad for posting messages on social networks advocating for Crimea being part of Russia.

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