Czech parliament declares opposition to Vojtěch Filip Russia trip
On Wednesday, the Czech parliament adopted a resolution distancing itself from a controversial visit by the leader of the Czech communist party, Vojtěch Filip, to Russia. While the communist leader insists he is visiting Moscow to foster dialogue, non-communist Czech MPs from across the political spectrum have accused the party leader of undermining Czech foreign policy interests and even providing the Kremlin with useful propaganda. I spoke with Jakub Janda of the European Values think-tank, and began by asking why Mr. Filip is taking this controversial trip.
And specifically Mr. Filip is set to meet with Sergei Zheleznyak, who is the deputy speaker of the Duma. And he is one of those people on these sanctions lists that you mentioned. So is this an effort by the regime in Russia to find cracks in the opposition to their Ukrainian policy, among the ranks, for example, of the Czech communist party?
And the Czech parliament has just passed a resolution in which it is declared that Mr. Filip in no way represents the Czech state in his visit to Russia. So that is a pretty swift reaction, is it not?
“The parliamentarians had pretty well learned about this visit on-the-go, because nobody knew about it except the Speaker of the House Jan Hamáček, who allowed the deputy speaker Mr. Filip to go. So he gave his permission, and then the whole House learned about it on Wednesday, I believe. So they were pretty swift and strong about the denial of Mr. Filip’s mandate. And I believe that is good because now when the propagandist Russian media will talk about Mr. Filip’s visit, they will be forced to add that he is acting on his own and not as an official representative of the Czech state.”
Finally, what has Mr. Filip said himself in defence of criticism regarding this visit?