The Czech Republic has joined the Baltic countries and Ukraine on the list of the countries that have ruined their relations with Russia for a long time to come, expert Vladimir Shapovalov believes.
On April 18, Moscow declared 20 employees of the Czech Embassy persona non grata. The move came as retaliatory measures to the expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats from the Czech Republic the day before.
Prague considers Russian diplomats to be involved in the explosions at a military depot in Vrbetica in 2014. The Czech Republic put Russian nationals Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov on the wanted list, whom the UK had accused of poisoning Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The Czechs claimed that Petrov and Boshirov had entered the warehouse and planted a time bomb there, which was supposed to detonate on the way to Bulgaria, but something went wrong.
Vladimir Shapovalov, deputy director of the Institute of History and Politics of the Moscow State Pedagogical University, told Pravda.Ru that shortly before the expulsion of the diplomats, the Czech Republic offered its territory as a platform for negotiations between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden. In addition, acting Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic Jan Hamacek was going to Moscow to discuss the purchase of the Sputnik V vaccine.
"This suggests that a week ago the Czech leadership did not even know that it would come up with an initiative to expel Russian diplomats, since the idea did not come from Prague — it came from Washington," Vladimir Shapovalov told Pravda. Ru.
In his opinion, this wild Anglo-Saxon story with Petrov and Boshirov is designed exclusively for public opinion in the United States and Britain, while "the Czechs had to buy a completely absurd idea."
The Czech Republic is not a full-fledged sovereign entity — it expresses the will of Washington in the first place, the expert added.
"After the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the United States, Poland took up the baton. After Russia adequately responded to the United States and Poland, the Czech Republic joined in. It just so happens that the expulsion of Russian diplomats came as a direct response to the expulsion of American diplomats from Moscow and a recommendation to the US ambassador to leave the territory of the Russian Federation for consultations.
"That was the real cause behind the reaction from the Czech authorities. The unimaginable stories about ammunition depot explosions, in which Petrov and Boshirov were supposedly involved, had nothing to do with it. In 2014, the warehouse exploded twice. It appears that Washington did not know about it," added Vladimir Shapovalov.
The expert believes that the Czech administration demonstrated "an extremely low intellectual and cultural level" by demolishing the monument to Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev, who liberated Auschwitz and the Czech Republic from Nazis. The most recent spy scandal has taken that level to a new low.
"When a journalist asked the mayor of the Prague district why the monument to Konev was removed, the official responded in a sneering manner and said that he was not wearing the mask. The current story with Petrov and Boshirov has unfortunately demonstrated an extremely low intellectual and cultural level of the Czech political elites who pursue an openly anti-Russian policy, as Washington tells them. It appears that most European countries try not to fall to this level of disgrace," Vladimir Shapovalov told Pravda. Ru.
It was only the Baltic countries and Ukraine that could afford such behavior. Now they have the Czech Republc in their company. In all likelihood, Prague has closed the door of mutually beneficial relations with Russia for a long time to come.
The Russian Foreign Ministry expelled US and Polish diplomats in response to the hostile actions of Washington (sanctions on Russia's national debt and others) and Warsaw (expulsion of diplomats).
"The current extremely tense situation implies an objective need for the US Ambassador to be in Washington to analyze the situation and hold consultations," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.