Czech Republic News - History

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In The News

Czech support for India's claim on U.N. seat

History of the Czech Republic

For earlier history of the area, including Bohemia and Moravia as well as Czechoslovakia, see Czechoslovak region, history of.

The Czech Republic came into being on January 1, 1993, upon the dissolution of the Czechoslovak federation. At the time of the separation, the federation’s assets were divided at a ratio of two to one in favour of the Czechs special agreements were made for a natural gas pipeline from Russia, the diplomatic service, and the armed forces. The citizens of the former federation also were divided on the basis of new nationality laws, and, immediately after partition, large numbers of Slovaks began applying for Czech citizenship.

Václav Havel, who had served as the first president of Czechoslovakia after the overthrow of the communists, was elected president of the republic in January 1993, and Václav Klaus became prime minister. Because there was as yet no Senate, the election was conducted only by the Chamber of Deputies, thus contravening the republic’s new constitution. Although the separation with Slovakia proceeded amicably—quickly dubbed the Velvet Divorce, in reference to the 1989 Velvet Revolution—customs posts were erected along the Czech-Slovak border, and signs of rising national tempers were briefly noted on both sides of the new frontier.

Under a centre-right coalition government—composed of the Civic Democratic Party, the Civic Democratic Alliance, and the Christian and Democratic Union–Czech People’s Party—the new Czech Republic pursued a fairly aggressive policy of political and economic reform, the cornerstone of which was a program of rapid privatization. On May 31–June 1, 1996, the Czech Republic held its first general election since the country had become a separate entity. The coalition government lost its parliamentary majority when the centre-left Czech Social Democratic Party nearly quadrupled the number of seats it had previously held in the Chamber of Deputies. Nevertheless, the coalition headed by Klaus and Havel remained in power, with a pledge of support from the Social Democrats. However, major economic problems, serious rifts within the ruling coalition, and public dissatisfaction with Klaus’s leadership and economic policy forced the prime minister’s resignation in November 1997. Klaus’s Civic Democratic Party then split into two factions. Jan Ruml, a former interior minister, founded a new conservative party, the Freedom Union, to which almost half of the Civic Democrat deputies defected.

Klaus, however, remained a political force and shortly after his resignation was reelected party chairman of the Civic Democratic Party. At the June 1998 elections his party won more than one-fourth of the votes the Social Democrats won nearly one-third. President Havel, who had been reelected by a slim margin to a second term in January, called upon Social Democrat chairman Miloš Zeman (as the leader of the party with the largest number of seats in the Chamber of Deputies) to form a government, which was not initially successful. Eventually Zeman was installed as prime minister, and Klaus was elected to the chairmanship of the Chamber of Deputies.

The country’s domestic troubles during the mid- to late 1990s were to some extent mitigated by its acceptance into NATO. However, by the end of the 1990s, public dissatisfaction with the political leadership was growing. In early 1999, a group of prominent political writers issued “Impuls 99,” a declaration calling for decisive social, moral, and political change that would ensure the country’s rapid accession to the European Union (EU), to which it had formally applied for membership in 1996. In November 1999 activists who had been leaders during the 1989 revolution circulated a more radical manifesto, “Thank You! Now Leave!,” demanding the resignations of the leaders of all the major political parties for jeopardizing the Czech Republic’s acceptance into the EU. Tens of thousands of citizens took to the streets of Prague and other cities to demonstrate against the government. Another cause for concern was the spread of racial violence against the Roma (Gypsies).

On the other hand, in the realm of foreign policy, the Czech Republic experienced considerable success during the 1990s. In January 1997 Germany and the Czech Republic signed a document of reconciliation in which Germany acknowledged regret for its treatment of Czechs during the Nazi era, and the Czech Republic expressed remorse for Czechoslovakia’s expulsion of some three million Germans from the Sudeten region following World War II. Relations between Slovakia and the Czech Republic, however, remained tense for most of the 1990s, with some improvement in the early 21st century.

Klaus regained the political spotlight in 2003 when he became president at the conclusion of Havel’s decade-long tenure. Klaus, who was narrowly reelected by the Czech Parliament in February 2008, served alongside a series of prime ministers and cabinets beset by political infighting. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic had taken a historic step on May 1, 2004, when it became a member of the EU, and during the first half of 2009 the country assumed the rotating EU presidency. Some observers questioned the republic’s fitness to lead the EU when, in March 2009, the centre-right Czech government collapsed after losing a parliamentary vote of confidence. A nonpartisan interim prime minister, Jan Fischer, took power in May.

In the same month, the Czech Senate voted in favour of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty (an agreement to reform certain EU institutions), which the lower house had already approved. Klaus, however, claimed that the treaty was not in the best interests of the Czech Republic and refused to sign it until November 2009, when the Czech Constitutional Court ruled that the treaty did not threaten the Czech constitution. Klaus then reluctantly endorsed the treaty, completing the country’s ratification process. The Czech Republic thus became the last of the 27 EU members to ratify the Lisbon Treaty.

Meanwhile, the country’s interim government remained in power for more than a year, until July 2010, when President Klaus appointed a fellow Civic Democrat, Petr Nečas, as prime minister. Nečas headed a new coalition government comprising the Civic Democratic Party and two other right-of-centre parties. Although the Czech Social Democratic Party had garnered the most votes in the parliamentary elections held in late May, the three centre-right parties together had won a majority. The coalition enacted a number of austerity measures in response to the financial crisis that had wracked the euro area, but corruption scandals and leadership struggles limited the government’s effectiveness.

The Nečas administration pursued reforms to the social welfare system and the tax code throughout 2011, but infighting and a Social Democratic majority in the Senate hobbled many of the coalition’s efforts. Those difficulties were overcome in February 2012 when the coalition and the Social Democrats united to pass an amendment to the Czech constitution that introduced direct presidential elections. The Czech president, previously elected by a joint session of the parliament, would henceforth be chosen by popular vote. Squabbling within the coalition turned to open revolt in April 2012 when Public Affairs (VV), one of the coalition’s junior partners, disintegrated, leaving Nečas without a formal majority. Nečas’s sinking public approval ratings made him eager to avoid a snap election, and he reforged his coalition with the Liberal Democrats (LIDEM), a party created by former VV members.

Although the new coalition left him at the head of a minority government, Nečas survived a vote of confidence with help from independent members of the parliament. In January 2013 the Czech Republic held its first direct presidential election. Nine candidates contested the first round, with the top two finishers—former Social Democratic prime minister Miloš Zeman and the current foreign minister, Karel Schwarzenberg—facing each other in a runoff two weeks later. With voter turnout of about 60 percent, Zeman, running at the head of the Citizens’ Rights Party (SPOZ), won a convincing victory to succeed Klaus as president.

Nečas, who once boasted the nickname “Mister Clean” for his anticorruption stance, found himself at the centre of a scandal that toppled the Czech government in June 2013. A string of nighttime raids by police resulted in the arrest of numerous people close to the Nečas administration. Nečas’s chief of staff was accused of bribery and the misuse of military intelligence for personal reasons, and the junior members of the ruling coalition announced that they would withdraw their support from the government. Nečas resigned, and the Civic Democrats spent the next week attempting to form a government that could survive a parliamentary vote of confidence. Zeman ultimately intervened and appointed former finance minister Jiří Rusnok to serve as prime minister in a caretaker capacity, pending the scheduling of early elections.

The results of those elections, held in October 2013, reflected a growing disillusionment with the Czech political establishment. The Social Democrats won the most votes, but, with just 20.5 percent of the total, they were far short of a majority. Action for Alienated Citizens (popularly known by its Czech acronym, ANO, which means “yes”), a protest party founded in 2011 by billionaire media mogul Andrej Babiš, finished a strong second with almost 19 percent, followed by the Communists with 15 percent. The scandal-plagued Civic Democrats were resoundingly turned out, and SPOZ failed to clear the 5 percent threshold required for representation in parliament. The Social Democrats, who had expected a stronger showing, immediately fell to infighting, and party chairman Bohuslav Sobotka faced down a leadership challenge prior to the start of coalition talks.

Agriculture and forestry

Czech agriculture is among the most advanced in eastern Europe, with better than average yields. The country does not suffer from a shortage of agricultural land, but its land is used far less efficiently than that in western Europe. With the end of communism, land that had been confiscated after World War II to form large state-controlled farms was gradually restored to its previous owners. Although members of smaller collective farms were entitled to withdraw their land from the collective, small land holders did not necessarily receive their own land back instead, they often were allotted a plot of comparable worth at another location. The agricultural market is now wholly liberalized, with about one-fourth of farmland cultivated by individuals, one-third by cooperatives, and about two-fifths by corporations.

Wheat, sugar beets, barley, rye, oats, and potatoes are the most important crops. Pigs, cattle, sheep, and poultry are the dominant livestock. High-quality hops used by the country’s breweries are cultivated in Bohemia. Moravia, particularly southern Moravia, is a grape-growing region and is the centre of the Czech Republic’s wine industry, though vineyards are also found elsewhere.

Reforestation efforts of the early 1980s were offset by the effects of acid rain, which prompted cutting beyond the projected rate. By 1989 nearly three-fifths of the republic’s forests had been destroyed or seriously damaged. Since then, renewed reforestation efforts have been more effective with deciduous trees than with conifers, resulting in little overall change in the total forest area, which occupies about one-third of the country.

Czech Republic

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Czech Republic, also called Czechia, country located in central Europe. It comprises the historical provinces of Bohemia and Moravia along with the southern tip of Silesia, collectively often called the Czech Lands. In 2016 the country adopted the name “Czechia” as a shortened, informal name for the Czech Republic.

Despite its landlocked location, there were brief periods in the Middle Ages during which Bohemia had access to the Baltic and Adriatic seacoasts—which no doubt was on William Shakespeare’s mind when he set much of his play The Winter’s Tale there. A region of rolling hills and mountains, Bohemia is dominated by the national capital, Prague. Set on the Vltava River, this picturesque city of bridges and spires is the unique work of generations of artists brought in by the rulers of Bohemia. Perhaps only the French are as focused on their capital, Paris, as the Czechs are on theirs of the two, Prague has a more magical quality for many. Called “the handsomest city of Europe” since the 18th century, it has intoxicated writers, poets, and musicians alike. While Prague was the birthplace of the writer Franz Kafka and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, Brno, Moravia’s largest city, was the site of Gregor Mendel’s groundbreaking genetic experiments in the 19th century and the birthplace of contemporary novelist Milan Kundera. Moravians are as proud of their vineyards and wine as Bohemians are of their breweries and the Pilsner beer that originated in the town of Plzeň (Pilsen), which is also noted as the site of the Škoda Works—a heavy industrial complex that originated with the Habsburg monarchy. Moravia was equally endowed with skilled labour, which helped make Brno into one of the leading industrial towns in textiles and engineering during the 19th century and Ostrava, in the north, into a major coal-mining region, thanks to the vast fossil fuel deposits stretching over from Silesia.

History is always close at hand in the Czech Republic, where stunning castles such as Karlštejn (former keep of the royal crown of St. Wenceslas) and manor houses dot the landscape and medieval town centres abound. During its 1,000-year history, the country has changed shape and reshuffled its population. As the kingdom of Bohemia, it reached its zenith of wealth and power during the 13th and 14th centuries. Through a multitude of cultural, economic, ecclesiastical, and dynastic links, Bohemian kings became directly involved in the affairs of the German rulers of the Holy Roman Empire and opened the country to German colonization, which brought prosperity through silver mining and rapid urbanization. Prague, with the oldest university north of the Alps (Charles University, 1348), functioned as a royal and imperial capital. However, German colonization, which soon accounted for one-third of the total population and disadvantaged the majority Czechs, brought the seeds of discontent, resulting in an ugly, insolvable conflict in the 20th century. In the early 15th century Bohemia witnessed the Hussite revolution, a pre-Reformation movement named for Jan Hus, a follower of the English theologian and reformer John Wycliffe. Religious antagonism prevailed over ethnic tensions when Czechs and Germans jointly led the Protestant uprising that started the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) against the Catholic Habsburgs, the Austro-German dynasty that ruled Bohemia from 1526 to 1918. After the Habsburg victory, the German language replaced Czech for almost two centuries—until the Czechs experienced an extraordinary linguistic and cultural revival that coincided with the revolutions of 1848 and the spread of industrialization. In historian František Palacký and composers such as Bedřich Smetana and Antonín Dvořák, Czech nationalism found its ideal spokesmen.

The collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I brought the Czechs and Slovaks together for the first time as “Czechoslovaks.” The Czechs became the ruling ethnic group in Czechoslovakia, a new state in which Germans and Hungarians lived as unwilling citizens, bound to become disloyal minorities bent on undermining the democratic constitution engendered by the country’s founders, Tomáš G. Masaryk and Edvard Beneš. Many among this German population turned into Nazi sympathizers with the ascent to power of Adolf Hitler in Germany, whose design on the German-speaking border region of Czechoslovakia was appeased by England and France in the Munich Agreement of September 1938. Emasculated, Czechoslovakia succumbed to direct German invasion six months later. Bohemia and Moravia became a protectorate of the “Greater German Empire,” while Slovakia—whose Hungarian districts were ceded to Hungary—was induced by Hitler to proclaim its independence.

After six years of brutal Nazi occupation (with its legacy of the Holocaust and the postwar mass expulsion of some three million Bohemian and Slovak [Carpathian] Germans), Czechoslovakia was reconstituted, this time without Ruthenia (Transcarpathian Ukraine), which was annexed by the Soviet Union. A communist coup in February 1948 sealed Czechoslovakia’s fate as a member of the Soviet bloc for the entire Cold War—though briefly, in the Prague Spring of 1968, a reform movement took over, only to be crushed by Soviet military invasion in August of that year. Still, that experience of freedom produced an underground dissident movement, later called Charter 77, whose leader, playwright Václav Havel, was propelled from prison to the royal castle, becoming the first president of postcommunist Czechoslovakia with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

The last modification of the modern Czech nation-state was inaugurated on January 1, 1993, when the union with Slovakia was dissolved. As the Czech Republic, the new country joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999 and the European Union (EU) in 2004.

Political deadlock

2006 June - General elections result in a hung parliament.

2006 September - President Klaus appoints a centre-right government led by Mirek Topolanek of the Civic Democratic Party. The government loses a confidence vote in October.

2006 November - President Klaus appoints Mirek Topolanek as prime minister for second time. Talks begin on forming grand coalition.

2007 January - Parliament narrowly approves a three-party, centre-right coalition.

2007 March - Government says it will begin negotiations with the US on Washington's plans to build part of a missile defence shield in the country.

2007 June - US President George Bush visits. Hundreds protest against US plans for a radar base near Prague which would be part of a missile defence shield.

2007 December - The Czech Republic joins the EU's Schengen Treaty free movement zone.

2008 February - Vaclav Klaus re-elected as president.

2008 July - Czech Republic signs agreement allowing US to base components of its planned missile defence system on Czech territory. Russia threatens "retaliatory steps".

2009 March - Centre-right government led by Mirek Topolanek loses parliamentary vote of confidence. Mr Topolanek resigns.

2009 May - Economist Jan Fischer forms interim government to run country until expected early election in the autumn.

2009 September - Early parliamentary election is postponed after Constitutional Court rules that it would be unconstitutional.

2010 February - Small far-right Workers' Party outlawed, the first ban on a party for political reasons since fall of communism in 1989.

2010 May - Left-wing Social Democrats (CSSD) win most votes in general election, but not enough to form a government. Election runner-up the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) begins talks with smaller parties on forming a centre-right coalition.

2010 June - ODS leader Petr Necas forms a coalition government with the right-wing TOP 09 party and the centrist Public Affairs party.

2010 September - Proposed government spending cuts trigger mass protest in Prague.

2010 October - Opposition Social Democrats win control of Senate in mid-term elections, allowing them to obstruct government's austerity plans.

Saint John of Nepomuk

Cham | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Mauthausen | Photo: Pieter Bosman

St.Wolfganag | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Cimeny | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Altenberg | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Crikvenica | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Mittenwald Obermarkt | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Oberammergau | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Hopferstadt | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Schweigerrs | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Gleink | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Hirsching | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Bad Ischl | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Passau | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Linz | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Geisa | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Altenberg | Photo: Pieter Bosman

Würzburg | Photo: Klára Stejskalová, Radio Prague International

Obříství | Photo: Klára Stejskalová, Radio Prague International

Lenešice | Photo: Klára Stejskalová, Radio Prague International

Nižbor | Photo: Klára Stejskalová, Radio Prague International

Ostrov | Photo: Klára Stejskalová, Radio Prague International

Břvany | Photo: Klára Stejskalová, Radio Prague International

São João Nepomuceno, Brazil | Photo: David Koubek, Radio Prague International

Prague Smíchov | Photo: Lenka Žižková, Radio Prague International

Prague Pohořelec | Photo: Markéta Kachlíková, Radio Prague International

Prague, Nerudova Street | Photo: Markéta Kachlíková, Radio Prague International

About the Czech Republic’s National Soccer Team

The national soccer team (or football team, as it’s referred to in the Czech Republic and all of Europe) of the Czech Republic is an international soccer team that, of course, represents the Czech Republic. The team is controlled by the Football Association of the Czech Republic, which governs professional football for the entire country.

Before World War I, the national team of what is now the Czech Republic played under the Kingdom of Bohemia, which was part of Austria-Hungary. As Bohemia, the team played a total of seven matches between the years 1903 and 1908. Six of those games were played against Hungary, and one was played against England.

When Bohemia became Czechoslovakia, the national soccer team finished as runners-up in the 1934 and 1962 World Cups, as well as in the European Championship in 1976.

During the 1990s, Czechoslovakia was dissolved and reformed into what is now known as the Czech Republic and Slovakia. After the reformation of the Czech Republic, the country’s national soccer team was established. The team’s first away game was played against Turkey in 1994, winning the game 4-1. The first home game of the newly formed Czech Republic national football team was played in Ostrava, and they competed against Lithuania. During this game, the Czech Republic claimed their very first home victory with a score of 5-3.

The first competitive match that the Czech Republic played in as part of the 1996 UEFA Euro qualifying campaign. During this game, the team beat their competition, Malta, with a 6-1 win. The Czech Republic went on to win a total of six games during the remainder of the 1996 qualifying match they also had three draws and were mostly beat by Luxembourg. The team finished off in first place in their qualifying group, which put them above the favorite pick, the Netherlands. During the final, English tournament (which England hosted), even though Germany beat the Czech Republic 2-0 in the opening game, the team still managed to advance their group stage. They continued to advance and played in the EUFA Euro final of 1996 however, they were defeated by Germany, with a final score of 2-1.

Due to their massive success in the Euro 1996, it was expected that the Czech Republic would qualify for the 1998 FIFA World Cup however, they didn’t make it, as they finished third in their qualifying group, with Spain and Yugoslavia standing ahead of them.

Czech Republic News - History

Learn about the history of the Czech lands, get an overview of Prague history, read a sampling of Czech legends, and browse our selection of Czech history books.


Our extensive Czech History section covers over 1200 years of the history of the Czech lands, starting with the early Slavic settlement around 6th century AD and ending with Czech Republic's entry into the European Union.

The History of Prague through the Centuries overview will lead you from the founding of the Prague Castle, through the Middle Ages and Prague's Golden Age, to the reign of the Habsburgs and all the way to Prague's recent past and present.

Go to the Czech Legends page to learn about the origin of Prague, read the story of the Golem, the famous tale of Horymír and his horse Šemík, and other Prague and Czech legends.

Czech Republic News & Current Events

On Jan. 11?12, 2013, the Czech Republic held its first ever direct popular vote for president. Of the nine candidates, no one secured a majority of the vote. Former prime minister Milos Zeman received 24.2% of the vote, with current Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg a close second with 23.4%. Voter turnout was over 61%.

A runoff between Zeman, from the Party of Citizen?s Rights, and Schwarzenberg, a member of the Traditional Responsibility Party, ended with Zeman victorious with 54.8% of the vote. President Zeman was sworn in on March 8, 2013.

In June 2013, Petr Necas resigned as the Czech Republic's prime minister following a scandal involving his chief of staff Jana Nagyova, who was charged with bribery and abuse of office. President Zeman appointed former finance minister Jiri Rusnok as the new prime minister.

After new prime minister Jiri Rusnok lost a confidence vote in parliament 93 to 100 on August 7, 2013, the country faced the dissolution of lower parliament and early elections in October. After months without a fully functioning government, Czech voters went to the polls on October 26, 2013, but results were less than definitive, leaving the country divided and without clear leadership. Bohuslav Sobotka and his party, the Czech Social Democrats (CSSD), came away with 20% of the vote, while millionaire media mogul Andrej Babis and his brand-new protest movement ANO came away with less than 19%.

Czech-Russian relations plunge amid differences over history

PRAGUE -- It began with the dismantling of a statue of a Russian World War II hero and the renaming of a Prague square. Now three of the Czech capital's mayors are under police protection, fearing they are the targets of a Russian assassin carrying a deadly toxin, and Russian-Czech relations are in crisis.

“There’s a Russian here whose goal is to liquidate me,” Prague 6 district mayor Ondrej Kolar said recently in a television interview from a secret hideout.

In the week in which the Allies mark the 75th anniversary of victory over the Nazis in Europe, relations between Prague and Moscow are taking a turn for the worse amid what the Czechs see as Russia’s growing assertiveness over its interpretation of history.

At the center of the dispute is last month's removal from Kolar’s district of a statue of Soviet Marshall Ivan Konev, whose armies completed Prague’s liberation on May 9, 1945. The district said the statue would be moved to a museum and a new monument honoring the city's liberation would take its place.

The statue’s removal caused outrage in Russia, which has angrily lashed out at any attempts to diminish the nation’s decisive role in defeating the Nazis.

The Soviet Union had the most casualties in World War II, but its occupation or liberation of territory resulted in the ensuing decades of Moscow-backed Communist regimes in Eastern Europe, including Czechoslovakia.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov charged last week that the Prague authorities’ action violated a 1993 friendship treaty that included a Czech pledge to protect memorials to Russian World War II heroes.

“That undermined agreements that have been the bedrock of our relations for the past 30 years,” Lavrov said.

After Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law in April that made damaging war memorials a criminal offense punishable by up to five years in prison, Russia’s top criminal investigation body launched an investigation into the dismantling of the Konev statue. The Czech Foreign Ministry called the move unacceptable.

The statue has long been a source of friction between Russian and the Czech Republic. In 2018, Czech authorities unveiled a new explanatory text on the monument. It described Konev’s leading role in crushing the 1956 anti-Soviet uprising in Hungary, his contribution to the construction of the Berlin Wall and the preparation of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia that crushed liberal reforms known as the Prague Spring.

The country was subsequently taken over by a hard-line Communist regime fully loyal to Moscow that was only ousted by the 1989 anti-communist Velvet Revolution.

With tensions spiraling, the investigative Respekt weekly reported last week that Czech intelligence services suspect that a Russian who arrived in Prague on a diplomatic passport three weeks ago was sent to poison Kolar and Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib with ricin, a highly potent toxin.

The story was based on anonymous sources. The Foreign Ministry only confirmed that a Russian diplomat arrived in Prague in March.

The Russian embassy sent a protest note to the Czech Foreign Ministry, calling the allegations baseless and designed to discredit Russia. The ministry responded that it was inappropriate for a foreign state to question basic rights such as freedom of the press.

Kolar said he is now receiving police protection, along with Hrib and the mayor of Prague's Reporyje district, Pavel Novotny.

Novotny had provoked Moscow's ire for his plans to build a monument to the soldiers of Gen. Andrei Vlasov’s army. Over 300 of them died when they helped the Czech uprising against Nazi rule and contributed to Prague’s liberation. Their role is controversial for Russia, however, because they previously fought against the Red Army alongside Nazi troops.

“The Russians still are unable to face their own history,” Novotny told The Associated Press.

In a separate move condemned by Russia, in February Prague renamed a square in front of the Russian Embassy after Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was slain in Moscow in 2015.

Lavrov ridiculed the claims of an assassin in Prague, saying that it made no sense that the Czech authorities would have identified a man carrying ricin and let him through.

In the Czech parliament, the security committee of the upper house, the Senate, called the Russian moves “an unprecedented attack on the (Czech) state's sovereignty” and asked the government to react accordingly, including by presenting a plan to reduce the number of diplomats at the Russian embassy who are suspected of spying activities.

Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said the Czechs sent the Russian side a note, asking for consultations over their disputes, the first such request based on the 1993 Czech-Russian treaty.

“Please, give diplomacy a chance,” Petricek told lawmakers in Parliament’s lower house. The Czech and Russian foreign ministers have not met since 2005.

Maxim Samorukov, a fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank said he believes the Czechs underestimated how sensitive Russia is to issues relating to history.

“The Czech government didn’t expect a local issue with the Konev monument to spiral out of control and become a major obstacle in cooperation with Russia. . Now, the Czech Republic is trying to tone down the issue, but without looking too subservient to Russia,” Samorukov said.

But Gen. Petr Pavel, the Czech former head of NATO’s Military Committee, told The Associated Press that the Czech Republic is no longer a Russian satellite and its government should respond resolutely, using its membership in international organizations like NATO and the EU to make sure its voice is heard.

“In the long term, Russia only respects power, and they keep it as no secret that respect means to fear them," he said.

Watch the video: Czech Republic: Anthem History (May 2022).