Despite the expulsion of the Czech deputy ambassador to Moscow, the diplomat remains on the ground. A breakthrough was offered after Czechia sent home the second man from the Russian embassy in Prague. He was suspected of cooperating with the Russian secret services. Moscow’s restraint is surprising in this case. On the other hand, Russian Ambassador Alexander Zmeevsky still remains in Prague.
Feodosius Vladyshevsky served at the Russian Embassy in Prague as first deputy and right-hand man to Ambassador Zmeevsky. However, on the last day of March, he had to leave the Czech Republic against his will. After being warned by the national secret services, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared him persona non grata.
According to journalists, Vladyshevsky did not act in the Czech Republic in accordance with his diplomatic mission. He sabotaged relations, and was suspected of ties to the Russian secret service. Such behavior by a diplomat in the host country is unacceptable. The expulsion of a member of the diplomatic corps as an undesirable person is considered the toughest tool in the normal relations of the two countries.
For this reason, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned Czech Ambassador to Moscow Vítězslav Pivoňka on Monday. He was warned that Vladyshevsky’s resignation was unacceptable. “He stressed that this new hostile step, which reinforces the line deliberately pursued by the Czech authorities with the aim of destroying bilateral relations, will not go unnoticed,” the Russians said.
Always without revenge
Even after four more days, however, Russia did not retaliate. The second man from the Czech Embassy in Moscow, Tomáš Hart, who had held his post for a year, remains in place. “To date, the Russian Federation has not taken this step,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Lenka Do confirmed to Aktuálně.cz.
Moscow’s restraint is unexpected given its acerbic statement and Czernin Palace’s uncompromising approach to Vladyshevsky, whose denunciation was singled out by Deník N. “It’s surprising. Aktuálně.cz, former Minister of Foreign Foreigners Tomáš Petříček (ČSSD).
Russia’s inaction stands in stark contrast to Moscow’s crackdown on 18 Russian diplomats under diplomatic cover. Czechia ended it last April when it became clear that Russian military intelligence was responsible for the ammunition depot explosions in Vrbětice in 2014. Moscow announced the expulsion of 20 Czech diplomats the day after the decision of the Czech party and gave them 24 hours to leave.
Russian diplomatic exodus
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, European states decided to take drastic measures against the Russian diplomatic corps. Diplomats have been expelled by 25 countries, including the Czech Republic, 23 of which are member states of the European Union. According to the latest available information, a total of 420 diplomats testified.
Most of them were sent home by Poland (45), Germany (40) and Slovakia (38). Czechia is in the top half of the rankings with 13 diplomats, but last year most countries in the European Union laid off by far the most, more than 100.
“Maybe it’s because they have slightly different concerns. The diplomatic representation is so paralyzed that it’s just gestures, even though the Russians like them in reciprocity. Maybe they will just Or they may realize that communicating with each other would no longer make the channel work at all,” Petr Kolář, the former Czech ambassador to Moscow, told Aktuálně.cz about the current Russian restraint.
Minus thirteen Russian diplomats
There are now six diplomats at the Russian embassy in Prague, and the Czech representation in Moscow has seven. The current figures are based on the intervention last year of the then foreign minister, Jakub Kulhanek, of the CSSD. After the expulsion of twenty Czech diplomats from Moscow, he decided to cap the condition of the Russian embassy in Prague at the same level, so that Czechia had to leave another 60 diplomats.
The Czech side stepped up pressure on Russian diplomacy after President Vladimir Putin’s regime launched an invasion of Ukraine in late February. He suspended the consulates in Saint Petersburg and Yekaterinburg and closed the Russian consulates in Karlovy Vary and Brno. Their employees left Czechia on March 12, with a total of 13 diplomats.
“It is a step that is also symbolic. It clearly shows the position of the Czech government and the Czech state, and it is a reaction to Russia’s aggressive policy,” commented Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS ) about the government’s decision at the time. . Moscow did not react to this step either. According to experts, he would probably intervene by closing the two Czech consulates in Russia, but the Czech government prevented them from doing so.
Intervention only in agreement with the EU
“Ambassador Zmejevský’s public remarks were very often manipulative, undiplomatic and scared. These are things that, given that our relations with Russia are at a standstill, we could take further action,” the official said. former minister Petříček on the fact that the first man of Russian diplomacy still remains in Prague.
Former Ambassador Kolář thinks the same. According to him, it would be understandable for the two parties to close their diplomatic missions. “It’s superfluous because we just don’t talk to each other. I would cancel our performance until something happened. I would leave it to the European Union Ambassador in Moscow, who could represent the interests of all the states of the union there,” he said.
A rocket attack at Kramatorsk train station, targeting families with children waiting to be evacuated, is another heinous crime. Russia no longer conceals the fact that it deliberately kills the civilian population. Russia’s behavior is no different from terrorist organizations. He will bear the consequences of his actions.
– Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic (@mzvcr) April 8, 2022
However, according to Aktuálně.cz, the Czech side will not take any independent action against Russian Ambassador Zmejevský. In the history of the independent Czech Republic, the Černín Palace has so far expelled only one ambassador, in the 1990s. However, the Foreign Ministry is ready to act after an agreement on a procedure together with other states of the European Union.
Such an impetus could be Russian war crimes in the form of mass murders of Ukrainian civilians in Buč, Irpini and Friday in Kramatorsku. A Russian rocket sent towards the station killed more than fifty people waiting to be evacuated. Czernin Palace said “Russia will bear the consequences.” Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský can demonstrate his position on Monday in Brussels, where he will meet all his EU counterparts.