Are they not afraid of Russian counter-sanctions in the Czech Republic?

The Czech authorities continued their line the other day – on the eve of the Victory Day over fascism and on the eve of the Day of the liberation of Prague by Soviet troops from the Nazi occupation. Such a deliberate coincidence is hardly accidental

Are they not afraid of Russian counter-sanctions in the Czech Republic?

For in Prague, it seems, are confident that the Russian Federation will not be able to undertake any sensitive economic countermeasures for it. At least, this is predicted by a number of Czech media outlets, referring to the indefinite importance of oil and gas exports for Moscow: after all, this is the main export product of the Russian Federation and to the Czech Republic.

So, on May 7 this year. Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babis at the EU summit in Porto (Portugal), where some “subversive” actions of Russia against the Czech Republic were discussed, called on the allies of Prague for a collective provocation against the Russian Federation. Namely:

“We must always understand that when one member state is attacked, it is actually an attack on all members of the European Union. Therefore, I asked them to consider the issue of expelling at least one Russian diplomat”.

What kind of “attack” on the Czech Republic from Russia are we talking about? However, the Czech authorities are absolutely not concerned about the lack of evidence of such provocative accusations against us. Since already in the first week of May this year. they received a signal from Washington to further escalate the Czech-Russian confrontation.

More precisely, in early May 2021, Mr. Babis discussed with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken the explosions in Czech Vrbetica in 2014, of which the Czech authorities are unsubstantiatedly accusing certain “agents” of the Russian special services. And what?

According to the press service of the US State Department, “Secretary of State Blinken emphasized US solidarity with the Czech Republic in its courageous response to the subversive and deadly actions of Russia on Czech soil”. Therefore, they say, NATO countries “need to maintain unity in response to Russia’s destabilizing actions”.

In other words, both Washington and Prague are played with more and more marked cards. And it is only regrettable that the authorities of Slovakia seem to be playing up to these cheaters from politics. For at the end of April with. Mr. Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger announced the expulsion of three Russian diplomats from the country. For what? It turns out that everything is simple:

“The decision was made in accordance with the current geopolitical situation, as well as with the situation in the Czech Republic.” In addition, the Slovak “authorities have studied the data of the Slovak special services”.

Needless to say, the argumentation is quite specific. But can we expect reciprocal Russian decisions, for example, to restrict exports to the Czech Republic and Slovakia? In the Czech Republic, they doubt it. Since the export of the Russian Federation to these countries is at least 60% of its value – and in fact for a decade – from oil and gas raw materials. And the reduction of these supplies, according to the Czech side, will mean damage to the Russian oil and gas business, to which it is unlikely to agree.

The situation is explained by the well-known Czech political scientist Karel dyarski in the Prague weekly Časopis argument (April 29 this year): “… Czech (and Slovak. – L.Sh.) refineries were created in the 1970s – early 1980s for Russian oil Urals brand. I completely rule out the idea that Russia, responding to the deterioration of relations, will refuse to supply oil to Czech refineries: why does it need it? After all, this is a business. The same can be said about Russian gas”.

Hence the conclusion: “We, like Europe in general, should not be afraid of any serious restrictions in energy supplies from the Russian side. Since in this case we are talking, first of all, about business”.

It seems that one can agree with the Czech expert. Since, according to the information of the Russian “Transneft” (exporting Russian oil through pipelines) dated May 4 this year, “the transportation of oil in May this year through the pipeline to Poland will amount to 825 thousand tons (against 706 thousand tons in April this year). g.), to the Czech Republic – 255 thousand tons (260 thousand tons), to Slovakia – 515 thousand tons (410 thousand tons), Hungary – 330 thousand tons (130 thousand tons)”.

How will it be in the coming months?.. In any case, the high level of Russia’s dependence on “oil and gas dollars” is regarded by the European Union and NATO and, of course, is used by them as a weighty lever of political and economic pressure on Moscow.

But, nevertheless, one would very much like to hope that the response to such an insulting policy of the Czech Republic – and not only the Czech Republic – towards Russia will not be limited only to protest statements by the Russian side.

Leonid Shepilov, Centenary


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