Czech President Milos Zeman on Friday (December 27) lashed out at Russia’s “insolence” for protesting against Prague’s decision to turn the anniversary of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of then-Czechoslovakia into a memorial day.
Czech lawmakers passed a bill earlier this month to designate Aug 21 as “a day commemorating the victims of the invasion and subsequent occupation by the Warsaw Pact armies”. Zeman signed the bill into law on December 13.
Zeman added that he could cancel his visit to Moscow on the 75th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War.
“Some time ago, I accepted the invitation of the President Putin to take part in the celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Victory, and now I’m thinking about whether to go there at all or, what I’ll most likely do, go there and say to the Russians: “What if you turned the page and stopped recalling this anniversary?”
Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was disappointed with the law adopted by the Czech Republic, which shows “the desire of Prague … to return to the events of half a century ago” in the modern context.
Moscow noted that such a situation does not contribute to the improvement of Russian-Czech relations and contradicts bilateral agreements, according to which Russia and the Czech Republic declared their desire “to finally draw a line under the totalitarian past.”
Prague and Moscow have traded heated remarks in the past months when a Prague district decided to remove the statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev, perceived as a World War II hero by Moscow.
Another rift was caused by another Prague district’s decision to build a memorial to the so-called Vlasov Army which helped liberate Prague in May 1945 after having defected from the Red Army in 1942 to join Nazi German troops.