The new Czech government declared plans to alter Prague’s relations with Moscow and Beijing. Czech politician Martin Dvorak stated that a new document is being drafted that will prioritize relations with Germany, indicate the country’s intention to form a strategic partnership with Israel, and review relations with Russia and China, allowing for the implementation of Prague’s own Magnitsky Act.
“Unfortunately, the Czech Republic is affected not only by the coronavirus pandemic, but also by the Russophobic pandemic,” Vladimir Dzhabarov, First Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, told Izvestia, adding that if Prague approves the Magnitsky Act analogue, it will face equally harsh sanctions, harming relations between the two countries.
However, Nikolai Topornin, Director of the Center for European Information, thinks it is too early to conclude that the new authorities want to worsen the issue, stating that they just want to organize their foreign policy framework.
If the Czech Republic’s relations with Russia and China were relatively good a few years ago, the situation has changed since promised billions in investments from Beijing never materialized, while relations with Moscow deteriorated after the Czech Republic suspected Russian intelligence of being implicated in the 2014 Vrbetice ammunition depot blasts.
The withdrawal of the final pro-Russian and pro-China parties from the Czech political arena, the Communists and Social Democrats, turned the struggle with these two powers into a whole political mainstream direction.
This is not unexpected, according to Topornin, since this is the overall atmosphere of Russia’s ties with NATO and the EU, and the Czech Republic is just leading this trend.