Czechia will not intervene in Russia’s domestic affairs after a proposal to condemn Moscow was shot down in the Czech Chamber of Deputies following clashes between protesters and police in Russia following the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
The resolution put forward demanded that the Czech government work to help release the opposition leader Alexei Navalny from jail as soon as possible, but Czech MPs from Freedom – Direct Democracy (SPD), the Tricolor movement, the Communist Party (KSČM), and most of the present deputies of the government parties ANO and Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), refused to discuss this matter.
“When the state apparatus carried out repressions against the Czechoslovak citizens before 1989, we often received support from abroad. It was very important because it is necessary for people who are persecuted by an authoritarian regime that people talk about their situation and that the free world does not stay silent. It must be clear that free countries are not indifferent to their fate and their story,” commented Petr Fiala, chairman of the Civic Democrats (ODS), on the proposal to condemn Russia over its actions against Navalny.
He proposed that the resolution should state the following: “The Chamber of Deputies condemns the violence by Russian security authorities against peaceful demonstrators and calls on the Czech government to work through diplomatic channels on the release of Alexei Navalny as soon as possible.”
However, only 40 of the 97 deputies present were in favor of discussing such a proposal. For example, the Speaker of the House Radek Vondráček, and his three colleagues from the ANO movement voted for adopting the resolution. The opposition’s proposal was also supported by two Social Democrats and one member of the Communist Party. However, the majority of their party colleagues, as well as SPD and the Tricolor movement deputies, did not support the proposal.
“I condemn the brutal violence and repression against freedom of speech,” wrote Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček from the Social Democratic Party on Monday, adding that the foreign ministry will request an explanation from the Russian ambassador about the arrest of Navalny and the violent suppression of protests.
“We must not be indifferent to what is happening in Russia. We must not be indifferent to what methods are used to fight the opposition. Many of us are watching with concern what is happening around opposition leader Alexei Navalny, what is happening around his colleagues,” ODS leader Petr Fiala said to his colleagues.
The suppression of demonstrations, during which Russian security forces detained several thousand people over the weekend, was condemned by European Union states on Monday. Protesters demanded the release of Navalny, who was arrested a week ago when he returned to Moscow from Germany, where he was recovering from the poisoning attempt.