Jan Šinágl angažovaný občan, nezávislý publicista

   

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„Komunismus znamená v pravém a úplném smyslu bludné učení, že nikdo nemá míti žádné jmění, nýbrž aby všechno bylo společné, a každý dostával jenom část zaslouženou a potřebnou k jeho výživě. – Bez všelijakých důkazů a výkladů vidí tedy hned na první pohled každý, že takové učení jest nanejvýš bláznovské, a že se mohlo jen vyrojiti z hlav několika pomatených lidí, kteří by vždy z člověka chtěli učiniti něco buď lepšího neb horšího, ale vždy něco jiného než je člověk.“

Karel Havlíček Borovský ve svém časopise „SLOVAN“ 26.7.1850


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Putin VladimirRussian corruption starts small but quickly spreads.Putin socha svobody

In President Vladimir Putin’s zero-sum worldview, elevating Russia to the status of a superpower doesn’t require strengthening his own country but rather by weakening the West’s post-Cold War order. The West needs to be more attuned to all aspects of Putin’s troublemaking — specifically his strategic deployment of corruption.

Take the case of his years-long, methodical campaign to enfeeble the Czech Republic with corruption. As a result, this stalwart member of NATO has become an embarrassing pro-Russia mouthpiece that excuses China’s antics in the South China Sea and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. More importantly, it radiates Kremlin-sponsored corruption across Europe.

Klaus a PutinPutin’s corruption starts small but quickly spreads. For example, Czech media has questioned the source of funds that spurred the rapid growth of the Strnad family from humble scrap dealers a few years ago to one of the Czech Republic’s largest arms dealers with a near-monopoly on the sector. One of the Strnads’ main investors, Alexej Beljajev, is a friend of Vladimir Yakunin, a vociferous Russian nationalist, Orthodox extremist, and close advisor to Vladimir Putin.

Jaroslav Strnad is the primary financial backer of another friend of Vladimir Yakunin: pro-Russian Czech President Milos Zeman, a foul-mouthed, drunken apparatchik who used Russian covert and overt help to win the presidency. Unfortunately, the United States has never taken the threat represented by Zeman seriously. (President Barack Obama did little more than deny Zeman a White House visit. President Donald Trump likes Zeman because the Czech president flatters him.)

The Strnads, for their part, should have caught U.S. attention when they appeared to violate a European Union arms embargo and NATO policy by selling weapons to Azerbaijan for use against Armenia; the Azeris exposed the sale by helpfully putting the weapons in a military parade. Czech officials implausibly claimed the weapons were intended for Israel. The bright if brief international scandal didn’t spur U.S. action against the Czech government.

More flags should have gone up when First Czech-Russian Bank, a bank with reported links to the Kremlin — and an institution that previously gave a $10 million loan to France’s National Front, whose leader, Marine Le Pen, defends the Vichy government’s participation in the Holocaust — extended massive credit to Strnad’s company, Czechoslovak Group (CSG), helping make him a billionaire. Not long thereafter, First Czech-Russian conveniently collapsed, obscuring any paper trail connecting Strnad to Putin and either to France’s National Front.

Prague should not be considered an insignificant place easily sacrificed to a strategy of “America First” or “strategic retrenchment.” The Czech Republic is a crucial front-line NATO ally that suffered in World War II, suffered under Stalin, got crushed by Leonid Brezhnev in 1968, and whose brave revolutionaries helped bring a peaceful end to Soviet communism. Moscow’s ultimate goal is not a Czech government with a Kremlin mandate. It is to convert Prague into an amplifier of Russian mischief.

Moscow’s ultimate goal is not a Czech government with a Kremlin mandate. It is to convert Prague into an amplifier of Russian mischief.

Moscow’s ultimate goal is not a Czech government with a Kremlin mandate. It is to convert Prague into an amplifier of Russian mischief.

Since the First Defenestration of Prague in 1419, Prague’s predicaments have become others’ predicaments. It matters now like then or in 1968, if for different reasons. Already, the tentacles of just this one case of corruption stretch from Yerevan to Paris (and Washington).

There is no deal that will halt the Kremlin’s behavior because the goal is not to achieve any policy aim in Prague — or Kiev or wherever else it aims its hybrid war. The goal is chaos, because that means a weaker West. And Putin is leveraging people like the Strnads to that end.

The West must confront Putin’s nonsense before its knock on effects grow. Unfortunately, Washington is distracted — whether in the form of Trump’s bizarre refusal to criticize Putin, out-of-control Republican partisanship hell-bent on defending Trump, or Democrats’ obsession with the Trump/Russia collusion narrative — and thus not paying attention to how Putin is attacking the United States.

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http://foreignpolicy.com/author/kristofer-harrison/

 

J.Š. 17.3.2018

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