The Czech criminal police are investigating the statements of the former deputy Lubomír Volný, which concern his approval of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. On social media, Volný thanked the Russian army and celebrated President Vladimir Putin, with the police presidium confirming the investigation to the Deník N newspaper.
“Although we have received several suggestions from the public in this regard, we are doing so based on our own monitoring activities,” said Kateřina Rendlová, a spokeswoman for the police presidium.
“Europe needs more Putins and Orbáns and fewer criminals and terrorists such as EU and NATO criminal organizations,” Volný said while expressing his admiration for Vladimir Putin.
The news comes after Czech prosecutors warned that expressing support for Putin could be prosecuted, raising concerns about freedom of expression.
After the invasion of Ukraine began, Volný thanked the Russian army for its “peaceful” approach. At the same time, the occupying forces routinely shelled civilian targets, such as residential homes, killing unarmed women, men, and children.
Expressing support for Russia or Putin could be prosecuted in Czechia
The move to criminalize any voicing of support for Putin or Russia is sure to spark freedom of expression concerns in Czechia
“The Russian army is behaving properly, according to the media statements of the country’s political and military leaders. It does not expose the Ukrainian army to brutal violence and ruthless bombing in disregard to civilian casualties. And the soldiers deserve a big thank you for that,” Volný wrote on his blog.
According to him, Ukrainians are practically not among the refugees at the border crossing in Medyka. He claimed that Africans and Arabs were applying for humanitarian aid instead of Ukrainian mothers with children.
Volný also comments on the Russian invasion on his Twitter account. Among other things, he tweeted that Czechia is involved in a war crime. The former deputy then described Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as an “ordinary mass murderer.”
The anti-disinformation department of the Czech Ministry of the Interior focused its attention on Volný’s posts last week.
“Lubomír Volný found out that Covid-19 was no longer a topic, so he began to spread the propaganda and disinformation of the Kremlin. He likes to use Russian state media as a source,” the ministry announced.
According to Deník N editors, Volný refused to answer questions about the police investigation.
Police are currently investigating about 200 similar cases. Among them are the communist Zdeněk Ondráček and Senator Jaroslav Doubrava from the Severočeši.cz party. Last week, police accused one Czech man of denying, questioning, approving, and justifying genocide after he approved of the invasion of Ukraine.
The Prosecutor General’s Office recently issued a statement about the people approving the invasion of Ukraine and the Russian aggression. The head of the institution, Igor Stříž, warned people about such actions, and according to him, freedom of speech has its limits.
“Verbal crimes should not be punishable by imprisonment. I am in favor of significantly educational punishments in the form of fines,” commented Stříž.
Volný collected money for his “information service” from his fans to the newly created transparent account of his Svobodné zpravodajství association. At the end of February, he had collected 100,000 korunas (€3,900) there. Recently, however, he had to cancel this account. People allegedly started sending him small amounts in foreign currencies, for which the bank charged him fees.
“It will destroy you in such a way that someone sends you 0.01 złoty. For these banking services, as the account holder, the bank will deduct 100 korunas (€3.91) from you,” the ex-deputy added, claiming that he canceled the transparent account because of that.