Prague - Unlike in previous years, no top government or state official has attended today's “Victory Day” ceremony to commemorate the end of World War Two held at the Russian embassy in Prague. Moreover, some Western embassies only sent lower level diplomats to attend the event.
Senate Speaker Milan Stech, a member of the senior ruling Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD), said that amid the ongoing Russian involvement in the Ukraine crisis, the current mood in the Czech society is not receptive to such meetings.
Neither Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) nor President Milos Zeman attended today's event. Zeman and the Czech Foreign Ministry have criticized Russia's activities in the Ukraine crisis in the past weeks. President Zeman has also repeatedly called for a decisive action to deter Moscow from further expanding its military activities in Ukraine.
Zeman did attend the “Victory Day” ceremony at the Russian embassy in 2013 and his predecessor Vaclav Klaus regularly attended the annual event.
Nonetheless, today's ceremony was attended by various CSSD and Communist Party (KSCM) lawmakers and members as well as former caretaker Prime Minister Jiri Rusnok and former ministers Martin Pecina, Jan Kavan, and Miroslav Gregr.
“I am not involved in senior diplomacy. This is the celebration of the victory over fascism and should not be linked to Ukraine,” said KSCM deputy chairman Jiri Dolejs.
“I am not a man of gestures. When somebody invites me, I consider it polite to come,” said CSSD lawmaker and labor union boss Jaroslav Zavadil.
KSCM chairman Vojtech Filip delivered a speech about the danger of fascism that, he said, may become topical once more.
In total hundreds of people attended the ceremony.
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