Czech Republic decided to reconsider relations with Russia

Woman in a mask on the Charles Bridge in Prague - 1920, 21.10.2021

PRAGUE, October 21 – The draft program of the new ruling coalition of the Czech Republic, which is now being created by the forces of five liberal parties, includes, among other things, an audit of relations with Russia and China, Martin Dvořák, a member of the working group preparing the program, told reporters.

“In the field of foreign policy, the new government of the republic will follow the traditions of the first president of the independent Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, which means an emphasis on human rights and civil society. and the need to revise relations with the Russian Federation and the PRC. “

He added that the coalition also wants to pass the so-called “Magnitsky law”.
According to Dvorak, the future program will also talk about the need to prevent “non-democratic states” from accessing the republic’s key infrastructure. At the same time, defense spending by 2025 should grow to 2% of GDP, which is required from its NATO members.
At the parliamentary elections held in the Czech Republic on October 8-9, the coalition of liberal forces “Together”, uniting the Civil Democratic Party (CDP), the TOP 09 movement and the Christian Democratic Movement, won. The second place was taken by the currently ruling centrist movement ANO, Prime Minister Andrei Babis.
After the elections, the “Together” coalition announced that it was joining forces with another liberal coalition consisting of the Pirate Party and the Elders and Independents movement, which came in third. The leaders of both liberal coalitions are already negotiating the formation of new leadership of the parliament and the cabinet; they have a majority of 108 (out of 200) deputies in the lower house. Both coalitions have nominated the leader of the State Democratic Party, Petr Fialu, to the post of prime minister.
Relations between Prague and Moscow deteriorated after the Czech Republic accused Russian intelligence agencies of involvement in the explosion at military depots in Vrbetica in mid-April and expelled 18 Russian embassy officials. In response, Moscow declared 20 Czech diplomats persona non grata, stating that the accusations of the explosion were absurd, unfounded and far-fetched. The Kremlin noted that the unsubstantiated accusations of the Czech Republic against Russia caused extreme harm to relations between the two countries, and also indicated that these accusations are part of a large-scale campaign of the West against Moscow.
In December last year, the European Union approved a new sanctions regime, which is based on the experience of the “Magnitsky Act” adopted in the United States in December 2012 against Russians who, according to the American authorities, are involved in human rights violations. This act was later given the status of a global law; sanctions under it should not be limited to Russian citizens.
The EU plans to impose sanctions for violations of fundamental freedoms and human rights, including freedom of conscience, the right to peaceful assembly, as well as genocide, torture, human trafficking, and sexual violence.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, commenting on this decision, noted that it was made to please the United States and without addressing the UN bodies.
Sergei Magnitsky, an employee of the large investment fund Hermitage Capital Management, who was accused of tax fraud by Russian law enforcement agencies, died in the Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention center in November 2009 after spending almost a year in prison. His death caused a wide public outcry both in Russia and abroad.
Moscow has repeatedly stated that it is inadmissible to politicize the Magnitsky case.

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