10 + Surprising Facts About The Czech Republic
The Czech Republic had its own James Bond in Russia for eight years?
Czech experts comment for &# 171; Voices of America&# 187; the case of Ivan Safronov
Ivan Safronov will be formally charged on Monday 13 July. Dmitry Rogozin, advisor to the head of the Roscosmos corporation, is suspected of high treason in the form of transferring top secret information to the intelligence of the Czech Republic.
Safronov was detained in Moscow on July 7, and later it was reported that the court extended his arrest until September 6, 2020. Many Russian journalists believe that in fact the army generals and the leadership of the Russian military-industrial complex annoyed Safronov’s articles published during his work in the Kommersant newspaper (2010 – 2019)..
“The Logic of Household Children in Russian-Czech Relations”
In 2002 the famous Czech singer Karel Gott recorded the song “Jako James Bond” (“Like James Bond”). The lyrical hero of this song says: “Yesterday I had a strange dream – I was an English gentleman and lived a life full of adventure.” The following is a list of attributes in films about 007 with a license to kill: travel to exotic countries, stylish tuxedos, golf, Dom Pérignon champagne, fleeting romances with the most beautiful women, battles with the enemies of Her Majesty and Good Old England. “I wish I could live such a life and save the whole world like James Bond!”.
The Czechs themselves perceived this song as a good joke. But recently they were surprised to learn that, according to Moscow, they have had their own super agent for 8 years..
The mention of this fact started the conversation between the correspondent of the Russian service of the Voice of America and the international observer of the newspaper Hospodářské noviny Ondrej Soukup..
“Officially, no one here commented on anything, and neither the Minister of the Interior nor the spokesman for intelligence said a word,” he began..
According to Soukup, both in the local press and on social networks, responses to Ivan Safronov’s announcement of the “Czech James Bond” were very skeptical. “It is clear that all reports on this topic that appear here, and the facts that have been provided to us, are regarded as speculation,” adds the Czech journalist.
Ondřej Soukup stresses that Russian-Czech relations “are now at their lowest point,” and in his opinion, one should not expect any progress for the better in the near future, rather, on the contrary.
“And the fault is on both sides. It seems to me that Czech society, including politicians, absolutely do not understand the sensitivity for Russia of everything connected with the Second World War. And all the shouts from the Kremlin: “What are you doing there? Return our monument, you are all Nazis! ” are counterproductive. Because they only cause a huge wave of indignation here: they say, again the Russians are trying to command us, they are reviving the Soviet Union and they believe that we are still their colony. Therefore, in response, we will remove another monument “, – describes the situation, the interlocutor of the” Voice of America “.
Ondřej Soukup compares the mutual claims of Russia and the Czech Republic with the logic of yard children. And he adds: “But this logic works because there is no positive agenda in these relations. From the point of view of Russia, the Czech Republic is too small, from the point of view of the Czech Republic, Russia is too big, but we do not need it too much. We buy gas through European energy companies, mainly through German ones. Exports to Russia make up, in my opinion, 1.5% of the total. So so far there are no positive moments that would allow us to say: “Let’s not sulk at each other, because we have common interests.”.
And in this sense, I admit that if everything that happened is really a provocation, and Safronov never had anything to do with espionage, then those who invented this case decided: let’s appoint the Czech Republic as his recruiter. They removed the monument to our marshal, now they will have our answer, ”sums up the international observer of the newspaper“ Hospodářské noviny ”.
“Czech politicians find this situation uncomfortable”
Co-director of Boris Nemtsov’s Prague Academic Center for Russian Studies at Charles University Marek Parish (Marek Příhoda) explains the relatively low attention to the case of Ivan Safronov by two circumstances – the time of summer holidays, when, after the first outbreak of coronavirus, the European Union decided to ease the quarantine regime and opened its internal borders. And the fact that the main topic of the local press was the discussion of the national budget deficit.
“None of the representatives of the executive power – neither Prime Minister Andrei Babish, nor Minister of Internal Affairs Jan Hamacek – commented on this case. Although Babish responded to the words of Dmitry Peskov, who said that bilateral relations are now “clouded”. In general, all our officials say that we want to normalize relations with Russia, that consultations are needed on the basis of the 1993 friendship and cooperation treaty. But the problem is that there is no reaction on the part of Russia to these proposals, ”the Czech expert states..
And he notes that the response to the case of Ivan Safronov followed from the deputies of the lower house of the Czech parliament. In particular, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Deputies Ondřej Veselý, who, incidentally, is a member of the government coalition from the Social Democratic Party, said that an authoritarian regime operates in Russia. And he emphasized: “Everything looks as if Russia has chosen us as its external enemy, with which it intends to fight”.
“I must confess that I did not expect this from the head of our foreign policy committee, but he compared this case with that of Ivan Golunov. And the deputy head of this committee, Jan Lipavský, said that Russia does not want to conduct bilateral consultations with the Czech Republic, “added Marek Prikhoda..
Summarizing the publications in the Czech press that appeared in connection with the announcement of the adviser to the head of Roscosmos as a “Czech spy”, co-director of the academic center Boris Nemtsov emphasizes that this is part of the general deterioration of Russia’s relations not only with the Czech Republic, but also with the West as a whole. And he sums it up: “My assessment of the situation is as follows: Czech politicians find this situation uncomfortable. They are used to the fact that the Kremlin considers the Baltic countries, Poland, Georgia and Ukraine, but not the Czech Republic, to be its main foreign policy enemies. That is, they are not used to hostile rhetoric from the official circles of Russia. But now they have to get used to such a phenomenon that previously belonged to other states. I am, of course, a skeptic. The situation in Russia now is such that it will hardly be possible to approach the improvement of our relations. But, nevertheless, there remains a desire to continue the search for a format to improve these relations, and the main thing is to find a person who would take responsibility for this process “.
“I very much doubt that Ivan Safronov could have been an agent of anyone’s intelligence”
With the fact that the accusations against Ivan Safronov are related to the dismantling of the monument to Ivan Konev, the installation of a memorial plaque to the ROA fighters who took part in the liberation of Prague in 1945, and with the scandal at the Russian embassy in the Czech capital, an independent military-political expert living in Prague agrees. Yuri Fedorov.
“The Russian embassy in all these cases behaves, I would say, defiantly incompetent. It begins to teach the Czech political elite and the public how they should behave, that the Czechs should be grateful for the liberation of Prague in 1945, and so on. The entire list of claims that are completely inappropriate in this case, either in tone or in content, is voiced. And this causes irritation in the Czech media, and in the Czech public, and among the political elite. And it does not help to improve relations, “Fedorov said in a conversation with a correspondent for the Russian service of the Voice of America..
The expert estimates the professional activity of Ivan Safronov very highly. “I followed his articles in Kommersant quite closely. For a good newspaper, these are worthy publications, sufficiently qualified and well-reasoned. And the author is a person who understands the problems he writes about, including the supply of Russian weapons and some military problems. These were articles reflecting his feelings about the state of affairs in the army and the military-industrial complex. Apparently, he inherited knowledge about the issues that he dealt with. At least – until his transition to the bureaucratic service, “- said Yuri Fedorov.
And he added: “I personally doubt very much that Ivan Safronov could have ever been an agent of anyone’s intelligence – Czech, Portuguese, Burundian and no matter what else. Firstly, according to the reviews of people who knew him, he is a man of patriotic sentiments. Secondly, in order to be appointed to the post of adviser to the head of Roscosmos, you need to get the approval of the FSB security service. This is the standard procedure for obtaining access to classified materials, to information of different levels of secrecy. Roscosmos is a highly secure organization in which all employees must have access to classified and top secret documents. In May, Safronov was appointed to a fairly high position in this organization, and not long before that the FSB agreed to such an appointment ”.
“And here a contradiction arises: if a person is suspected of being a spy – potential, real or imaginary – then how does the security service agree to his work in a regime organization?”.
And he concludes: “In my opinion, this indicates that the case itself is” sewn with white thread “, and, most likely, Ivan Safronov fell into some millstones of another conflict between various groups in the military-industrial complex or in the security service … This is just a pawn in some strange game. And, by the way, not only he is under attack here, but also Dmitry Rogozin – a man who, as far as I can judge, irritated many leaders of the military-industrial complex with his own, to put it mildly, incompetence. And I do not exclude that the main object of this intrigue was not a young journalist, but the head of Roscosmos. But this is just one of the conspiracy theories, since there are many inconsistencies and absurdities in the Safronov case. “.