The controversial statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev will be replaced by a
statue commemorating the soldiers who liberated Prague in 1945, the
district administration of Prague 6 decided at its session on Thursday. In
line with the proposal approved, the Konev statue will be moved to a
suitable new site in Prague. A proposal by the Pirate Party to hold a
referendum on the fate of the statue was rejected.
The open session, at which members of the public were able to have their say, is reported to have been stormy, with supporters of the statue calling for the mayor’s dismissal. The mayor said that while he had the utmost respect for the soldiers who had liberated the country from Nazi oppression, the Red Army had not only brought peace to the country, but in later years terror as well.
At a summit of the Visegrad Group states in Prague, the prime ministers of
the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary praised the outcome of
negotiations on the set-up of the new European Commission, saying the V4
had been given important portfolios and would have a strong voice in the
The Prague summit was also attended by representatives from Western Balkan states, the aim of the joint meeting being to strengthen cooperation between the two regions. The Visegrad group states approved a joint declaration stating support for the EU’s expansion to the Balkans.
Kosovo cancelled participation at the summit in reaction to President Miloš Zeman’s statement in Belgrade that he would try to persuade Czech top officials to retract the country’s recognition of an independent Kosovo.
Prime Minister Babiš said at a press briefing after the talks that he saw no reason to change the Czech Republic’s position on Kosovo, although he was open to debating the matter with the president.
President Miloš Zeman has said he does not consider it wise of the Chinese
authorities to boycott Czech cultural events in China, but that he
understands their reason for doing so.
Speaking on a visit to Belgrade, the Czech head of state, who has made a big effort to further Czech-Chinese ties, said that the mayor of Prague, Zdeněk Hrib, had “sown the wind, and the whole country was now reaping the whirlwind”.
Mr. Zeman said the Prague mayor was clearly under the impression that he could mould his own foreign policy rejecting the principle of “One China” at Prague City Hall, which was not the case.
In 2016 the then Czech government, which under the Czech Constitution is responsible for moulding the country’s foreign policy, set the ground for a more pragmatic policy line in relation to China signing an agreement on bilateral cooperation that pledged to respect the “One China policy.”
Artificial intelligence is of immense importance to the Czech Republic
since it is the future of the Czech industry, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš
said at a conference on artificial intelligence and ethics organised by the
Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague.
Mr. Babiš said that the process of robotization, which was already underway, would in time help resolve the ongoing labour shortage which is holding back many Czech companies.
He said the Czech Republic was one of the leaders in artificial intelligence and was up to the challenge of hosting a European intelligence centre in Prague.
The prime minister added that the idea had received support from the other Visegrad Four states.
A final decision is expected at the start of next year and the centre is expected to start operating within a matter of months.
President Miloš Zeman has dismissed claims that, during a meeting with
representatives of Ukraine’s Ruthenian community in Prague last week, he
had supported their demand for independence.
Mr. Zeman said such claims, made by some Ruthenian activists, were utter nonsense, and that he had merely expressed the view that decentralization might help alleviate tension in the Transcarpathian region.
He said he meets with Ruthenian representatives because they were part of Czechoslovakia’s history.
The Czech Republic’s ambassador to Ukraine, Radek Matula, was summoned to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry over the matter.
According to official data there are approximately 10,000 Ruthenians living in this region of Ukraine, but its members, who do not have the status of a minority, say the figures are underrated.
Ukraine considers Ruthenians a pro-Russian colony which threatens the integrity of the country.
The Czech Republic’s most famous pop singer Karel Gott is suffering from
acute leukaemia and is undergoing out-patient treatment at the General
University Hospital in Prague, according to a message posted on his
Facebook account. Mr. Gott says that his doctors discovered a
haematopoiesis disorder a year and a half ago, which has developed into
leukaemia in the last few months.
The singer, who turned 80 earlier this year, has had health problems in the past. In 2016 he successfully underwent chemotherapy due to an outbreak of cancer. In July, he had to cancel his performance at the Benátská Festival in Liberec, where he was planning to celebrate his birthday.
The Czech Basketball team’s unusually successful journey through the
Basketball World Cup has come to halt in the quarterfinals after they lost
to Australia 70:82 in Shanghai on Wednesday.
The Czech team held its own in a close game, but had a dry spell in the third quarter of the game where they went three minutes without scoring a point and Australia got into a 15 point lead. Although the Czechs won the final quarter with a score of 22:19, it was not enough to win the game.
However, the tournament is not yet over for the Czechs. They now face games with Poland, Serbia and the United States in a special group composed of the teams that lost in the quarterfinals to determine their final standing.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (Social Democrats) says the Czech
diplomatic corps is preparing further steps in regards to the ongoing
dispute surrounding the statue of Soviet marshal Konev.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on the Konev statue dispute in which it accused some Czech politicians of initiating a “war” over the symbols of Soveit victory over Nazism.
Minister Petříček journalists that such comments are not helping build good relations. He urged for the discussion to be led on a factual basis, with legal aspects also being taken into account. He warned that the conflict could divide Czech society, going on to say that “this is something our partners perhaps want”.
Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a statement accusing
some Czech politicians of being initiators of a “war” over symbols of
the victory over Nazism. It refers to the ongoing dispute over a statue of
Soviet marshal Ivan Konev in Prague.
Jiří Pospíšil, chairman of the Czech opposition party TOP 09, called the Russian statement “unacceptable and outrageous”. The Konev statue was vandalised during the 30th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Prague 6 district mayor Ondřej Kolář (also TOP 09), has been pushing for the relocation of the statue either to the Russian Embassy in Prague or a museum.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said in their statement that doing so would derogate the significance of the history the Konev statue is commemorating.
The statue's fate is set to be discussed at a Prague 6 district representatives meeting on Thursday.