Author`s name Anton Kulikov

Czech Republic regrets time and money wasted on Russia

Experts of the Association for International Affairs (based in Prague) prepared a report on the prospects of relations between the Czech Republic and Russia. The Czech Republic is currently forming a new government following the recent elections.

The relationship between Russia and the Czech Republic have been going downhill during the past few years. They were ruined completely after Prague accused Russian special services of their involvement in two explosions that took place in 2014 at a munition depot in the village of Vrbetice in the southeast of the country.

Russia officially declared the Czech Republic an unfriendly state and put it on the relevant list next to another "partner" — the United States. Neither the Czech Republic nor Russia have expressed a desire to change the situation for the better in any way yet.

Judging by the report from the Prague Association for International Affairs, many in the Czech Republic are satisfied with such a state of affairs. One of the authors of the report, Pavel Havlicek, that the Czech Republic should terminate the friendship agreement, which was concluded between the two countries in 1993.

"The Russian side continues the pressure not only at the level of bilateral relations, but also at international platforms. After all, when the Czech Republic tried to be elected to the Arctic Council, Russia said that this would not happen. If the Kremlin continues acting like that, there is no other option, but to get rid of this agreement," said Havlicek.

At the same time, the Czech expert did not explain what the Czech Republic had in common with the Arctic and why it should be present in the Arctic Council.

Pavel Havlicek also said that Czech investments in Russia did not meet expectations:

"As for Czech investments that were supported by the government (without the support of the state, they would not have been possible or would not have been so large), they did not meet expectations. There are risk issues, including the rule of law, related to wasted money, and it goes about the money of Czech taxpayers here."

To exemplify his point of view, he referred to the construction of the Polyarnaya thermal power plant in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region. The creditor for the construction of the TPP was the Czech Export Bank. The power plant was not built; in 2018, the bank went to court with a claim to recover a debt of 520 million rubles. The expert, however, evaluated losses at several billions of Czech crowns and did not give any explanation to the actual amount in question.

Pavel Havlicek and his companions are displeased with the fact that a few months ago the Czech government supported a program of state support and investment insurance for Russia.

"In our report, we are not very happy with this and we do not support its implementation, since there is no such support in relation to Georgia, Moldova or Ukraine," Havlicek said.

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