The government should resolve the dispute over the Russian school in Bubeneč, Prague. Prague 6 would like to provide facilities for Ukrainian children. How does he want to achieve this?
Hostem I ask was the mayor of Prague 6 and deputy of TOP 09 Ondřej Kolář. (Warning: there were vulgar expressions in the live stream.)
The dispute over a school in Bubeneč, Prague, has reached the governmental level. The building belongs to the Russian Embassy and has been empty since last year when a number of embassy staff had to leave the country. The “Embassy Cleanup” followed the revelation that Russian Secret Service agents were behind the Vrbětice attack.
The deputy and mayor of the sixth part of Prague, Ondřej Kolář, proposes that the school be opened to Ukrainian pupils and students. He approached the Russian ambassador because of this – and, as expected, without success.
However, the Czech Foreign Ministry did not understand the idea at all. Pirates Minister Jan Lipavský warns that it is not possible to use the school without the consent of the Russian Embassy. Czechia allegedly violates international law. Prague City Hall therefore wants to call on the government to draft a law that would limit the property rights of the Russian Embassy.
Does the Ministry of Foreign Affairs really offer reasons why the idea cannot be implemented? Or are we already looking at the start of the campaign before the autumn municipal elections, which will not be avoided in Prague?
You can read the whole conversation in the audio player, in your favorite podcast app, or in the video.
What was said in the interview?
1:00 – We managed to open the subject at a meeting of the Prague City Council, which supported our efforts with a resolution. The resolution calls on the government to pass a law restricting the property rights of the Russian Federation. But I can imagine other ways.
2:13 – The Baltic states want to open this issue on European Union soil, they want European states to adopt something like a “lex Putin”, which would allow access to Russian state ownership. We have imposed quite severe sanctions on Russian natural or legal persons, but that is not all. Russia is fighting the war we are doing all this for. It must be said that Russia must be punished as such. Either confiscate the property immediately, which I consider to be the most extreme option, or make the property serve what it is used for, and this can be achieved, for example, by restricting property rights or by imposing a forced administration.
3:40 – The Czech Republic would not cease to be a state governed by the rule of law. Russia is an aggressor and treats us like a hostile state.
4:00 – Let’s go to Poland. Poland took a totally unprecedented step, which blocked the Russian Embassy in Warsaw from accessing the accounts, effectively cutting them off from the money. They justified this by saying that they did not want to sponsor and provide access to money to a person involved in the murder of Ukrainians. We have to ask ourselves if we really want to settle relations with Russia. We now have a unique opportunity to free ourselves from the post-communist legacy.
5:30 – We have signed several bilateral agreements with Russia, which regulate relations with our property in Moscow and Russian property here in Prague. These contracts are not without effect. We have to ask ourselves if we want to retain the property of Moscow to the extent that it is there, or if we are willing to give it up even at the cost of losing it. We have a Czech house there, but we don’t really need it.
6:00 – We don’t need to acquire real estate here, the goal is to be able to use it and use it to meet the needs of the public.
7:00 a.m. – You have already mentioned the expropriation of the building as a possible solution. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lenka Do stressed that “the expropriation of property is carried out in accordance with the relevant law, not by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, but by the municipality”. We had legal analyzes done, so the capital is asking the government to pass a special law. The expropriation is not done by the State Department, but I deemed it necessary to inform it of these steps. I offered full cooperation to the Minister, but did not get a clear answer as to whether or not we could proceed with the process. I don’t want to take any action that would jeopardize our relationship with Russia, although I don’t think it should have been at such a high level for a long time.
8:30 am – I do not see from Minister Jan Lipavský’s response whether the Czech Republic wants to resolve this situation or not. He says there is a complicated situation. But we must ask ourselves if we have the courage to do so. And we have the need in Prague 6, every day we receive a class of compulsory children with the arrival of refugees. And there is some public support.
11:00 – We have not started the process, we need a clear position from the government, whether it is ready to think about it or not. When he says no, there’s no point in starting the expropriation process. If he agrees, one must ask whether we will go the way of a special law, or we will say that we want to acquire property in the property of the Czech Republic, for example in the form of expropriation.
12:00 – We can’t wait a month, on September 1st we have to have rooms for a thousand children.
13:00 – Without Milos Zeman, we will not become such a safe haven for the Russian secret service and the fifth column. The regime supported his entire presidency and served as a Trojan horse for Russian activities. And I can’t believe he’s looking back at half his political career now. There are still people around him who won’t allow us to turn around.
15:00 – How do you perceive the presidential pardon for Miloš Balák? It’s good old Miloš Zeman who is still the same. He started strumming on another note because it didn’t fit, but now he showed us all a raised middle finger.
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