To Russia with love: smiles all round as Czech President visits Moscow
Czech President Václav Klaus has just returned from an official trip to Moscow where he held talks with the Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev. High on the agenda was energy, with Mr Klaus welcoming the possibility of Russian companies taking part in major power projects in the Czech Republic. While he has become something of a bête noire for the European Union, the Czech president has friendly relations with the Kremlin. Why is Mr Klaus so pro-Russian? That question was put to Jiří Schneider of the Prague Security Studies Institute.
“President Klaus belongs to those who are definitely keen to have friendly relations with Russia. He is not alone, not even in this country. He is not alone in Europe. We see this kind of policy towards Russia among many European politicians. On this, on the Czech scene, he is quite close to the left. Basically, this is a paradox.
Do you think he has a blind spot for Russia and has too friendly relations.
“I would not call it a blind spot. On the contrary, I would rather say that he sees Russia as too big, too powerful to be neglected. It is the opposite of a blind spot. And he is very keen to express this opinion towards Russia.”
What is at stake in current Czech-Russian relations, you mentioned the economic issues raised yesterday.
“The thing is that if Russia was playing by the European rules then everyone would be happy to have more Russian subjects, more Russian companies on European markets. The problem is that Russia is politicising the economy. It is using energy as a tool of foreign policy and that is a problem. It is especially a concern to those dealing with energy security.