Study Identifies SPD As Main Promoters of Russian Political Influence in Czech Republic
According to the study, SPD leader Tomio Okamura is among the main promoters of Russian political influence in the Czech Republic. Photo Credit: Aktron, CC Creative Commons Attribution BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Prague, Sept 14 (CTK) – Russia’s political influence in the Czech Republic has been boosted mainly by the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD), whose leader Tomio Okamura and his deputy Radim Fiala are also among the most significant promoters of Chinese influence, alongside former lower house president Radek Vondracek (ANO), according to a study released yesterday.
The politicians ranking as most opposed to Russian influence are from the Pirate Party, including current Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, according to the analysis carried out by the European Values Security Centre.
The European Values Security Centre has described Russian and Chinese hostile influence as a threat to the national security and sovereignty of the Czech Republic.
The goal of the analysis, presented on a website mapping Russian and Chinese political influence, was to gather available information in one place. The map assesses the activities of Czech deputies and ministers since 2014, focusing on how they voted on selected occasions in the Chamber of Deputies and on their involvement in various matters either supporting or resisting Russian and Chinese influence.
According to the map, 25 politicians tended to help promote Russian interests, and 28 acted in favour of Chinese interests.
On the other hand, 150 politicians tended to oppose Russian influence, and 49 tended to oppose China.
31 and 120 remained inactive in their approach to Russia and China, respectively.
According to the analysis, Russian influence has been mainly boosted by the junior opposition SPD leader Tomio Okamura, SPD deputy leader Radim Fiala, and SPD MP Jaroslav Foldyna.
As for China’s influence, its most active promoter in Czech politics was Vondracek, a deputy chair of the senior opposition ANO, followed by Fiala and Okamura.
Those fighting Russian interests are led by Lipavsky, followed by Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) and Minister for Science, Research and Innovations Helena Langsadlova (TOP 09).
Among the opponents of China’s influence, the leaders are Langsadlova, Lipavsky and lower house chair Marketa Pekarova Adamova (TOP 09), the analysis showed.
Reacting to the report, Okamura told CTK that it was a mendacious election campaign aimed at supporting the government coalition (ODS, Christian Democrats, TOP 09, Pirates, Mayors and Independents) and smear the SPD.
“The voter preferences of Petr Fiala’s coalition have been declining and the SPD’s have been rising,” said Okamura, adding that he considered the European Values organisation untrustworthy, and on the side of the government coalition.
Local and Senate elections will begin in ten days in the Czech Republic.
Referring to the report, Vondracek said this kind of analysis is how intolerance has been spread in society. “It is an unbelievable labelling of people and presentation of things out of context or intentionally distorted,” he said, adding that he viewed the analysis as an attempt to smear him and influence public opinion.
The map highlighted some of Vondracek’s meetings with Chinese officials.
“As part of delegations, I never met anyone behind closed doors, let alone intelligence officers,” Vondracek said.
He said he has been trying to spread Czech influence in the world and boost dialogue. “I dare not imagine how these analysts would label [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron, who I was with in China. They would probably brand him a Chinese agent,” said Vondracek.