Below Fort Russ News readers are presented with an exclusive interview with the Czech politician and leader of the People’s Democracy Party, Adam Bartoš, conducted by FRN’s Russian guest analyst, Dr. Eduard Popov. The People’s Party grew out of the No to Brussels movement, which clearly speaks to its Euroskepticism and anti-Atlanticism. The leaders of the party, including Bartoš and his deputy for ideology, Ladislav Zemanek, were the first politicians in the Czech Republic to condemn the 2014 pro-American coup d’etat in Ukraine. In November 2014, People’s Democracy’s deputy chairman for ideology, Zemanek, was a member of the international delegation of election observers in the Donetsk People’s Republic, for which the Ukrainian government blacklisted him as a threat to national security and “separatist supporter.” These Czech patriots’ protest against the US-NATO Operation Dragoon Ride, which showed off the Americans’ military contingent in Eastern Europe, caused a stir in Czech, European, and Russian media. In fact, Adam Bartoš was one of this protest’s main organizers, for which he and Zemanek have been slapped with criminal proceedings.
Eduard Popov: Would you say a few words about your party?
Adam Bartoš: The People’s Democracy Party arose or, to be more precise, was renewed in 2014; it continues the work of a party of the same name which in 1918, exactly 100 years ago, was founded and led by the first Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia, Karel Kramář. Since the very beginning, People’s Democracy’s foreign policy has been permeated with deep sympathy for Russia. We admire Vladimir Putin’s patriotic politics within his country as well as his consistent foreign policy which guarantees stability and peace in Europe and the whole world.
People’s Democracy is a populist, nationalist party. On ethical issues, it is a conservative party, meaning it respects traditional values. People’s Democracy stands for the independence and sovereignty of the Czech Republic, for the Czech Republic withdrawing from NATO and the EU (the principle of neutrality), as well as for public affairs being in Czech hands (freedom) and the Czech state being self-sufficient (independence).
Popov: How did you end up participating in the Yalta Forum? With what goals and objectives did you go there?
Bartoš: I accepted an invitation from a foundation which was arranging the Yalta Forum. This invitation was very important for me, because I see a certain symbolism in it. Karel Kramář was not only a friend of Russia, but also loved Crimea, where he met his future Russian wife Nadezhda, spent their honeymoon, and built a villa where they would spend their summer months until 1914. In fact, this village is not far from where the conference was held. With this trip, I wanted to emphasize that People’s Democracy is a friend of Crimea. As part of the conference we also participated in a meeting of the Association of Friends of Crimea. I would be glad if People’s Democracy will come to represent Crimea’s friends in Czech society. Karel Kramář would have welcomed this without a doubt. I went to the forum to take in the atmosphere, to get acquainted with the place which our press demonizes, and to establish contacts and meet new people. This was successful.
Popov: What were your impressions of Crimea?
Bartoš: Crimea is a beautiful place. I am not surprised that pro-Western Ukrainians are upset that they lost it. I understand that Russia wants to make a model showcase out of Crimea, and they are succeeding in doing so. Crimea’s economic growth is unprecedented – around 18%. Current construction projects are rising at a speed that the West can only envy. While the West brings destruction and chaos, and NATO unleashes wars and devastates countries, Russia, on the contrary, is building, creating, and trying to avoid conflicts. This should manifest itself in the economy as well. A person reaps what he sows. He who sows war, devastation, and economic crises like the US will reap poverty. He who sows positive values, who tries to preserve traditional values, and who fights for peace like Russia will be positively rewarded and will prosper despite sanctions. You can see this in Crimea. While Ukraine is heading towards the abyss since its failed American coup, Crimea is blossoming.
Popov: To what extent do Czech politicians and Czech society share the official position of the EU that Russia annexed Crimea by force?
Bartoš: As far as I know, President Miloš Zeman and representatives of parliamentary parties such as the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia and the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party led by Tomio Okamura (nicknamed the Czech Marine Le Pen who triumphantly won in the last parliamentary elections) have not succumbed to Western propaganda and do not share the opinion that Crimea was forcibly annexed. The chairman of the strongest Czech political party, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, has recently been maneuvering in certain steps which have unfortunately shown that he is playing into the hands of US neoconservatives lobbying for conflict between the West and Russia. Extraditing the programmer Evgeny Nikulin (a Russian citizen accused of hacking and interfering in the US elections) to the US, the expulsion of Russian diplomats, and compliance with the bombing of Syria are all steps which demonstrate that Babiš is not pursuing sovereign policies, but is surrendering to the US and EU’s pressure. This is not surprising, since his business empire entirely depends on the European Union; therefore he cannot pursue independent policy. Other political parties in the Czech Republic behave like sycophants with the US.
I am personally convinced that the Ukrainians themselves are to blame for losing Crimea, or rather the American foreign policy (and George Soros) which provoked the violent color revolution and civil war and could not cope with further developments. Crimea’s citizens want to live in peace. They do not want to end up like their comrades in Odessa whom a fanatic crowd burned alive. Therefore, I am not a bit surprised that they voted in the referendum for Crimea to return to Russia. And it seems that they chose correctly.
Crimea is prosperous, safe, and is developing in such a way that Western countries can envy. Moreover, Crimea was historically always Russian, and its brief period of belonging to Ukraine was an anomaly. I also think that Russia has moral rights to Crimea since it is tied to the history of ancient Christian civilization (the Ancient Greeks had settlements in Crimea, etc.) to which we belong and whose values only Russia is defending today, while the West has departed from them and is now even going against them. It is only fair that this beautiful land belong to those who today are the heirs of these traditional values established here for millennia. Perhaps with the exception of Central Europe, Europe is unfortunately no longer the heir of these values.
Popov: Have you tried to convey objective information about what happened in Crimea to Czech society? Have you promoted friendly relations with Russia?
Bartoš: As a political party, we constantly talk about the need for friendly relations with Russia in our statements. We are consistent in this, and the labels hung on us by the Czech mass media and pro-Western activists do not worry us. Moreover, the views represented in the Czech mass media or by some Czech politicians do not reflect the opinion of the majority of Czech society. Most Czechs do not have feelings of hostility towards Russia, and many do not succumb to Western propaganda, as has been shown, for example, in the re-election of President Zeman. This is a problem mostly among the younger generation which has been influenced by the press, non-profit organizations, and the education system which these non-profit organizations parasitize and deform.
This must be changed, and Russia is a good example with its laws regulating NGO’s financed from abroad.
I’ve written three articles about my visit to Crimea on our party’s website and was interviewed for more than an hour by the independent Free Radio Station.
Popov: What advice do you have for the Republic of Crimea on conveying the truth about life on the peninsula to Western audiences?
Bartoš: This was the goal of the whole conference. The fact that it was attended by more than 3,000 people from more than 70 countries and five continents, and the fact that its speakers included European politicians, was a diplomatic step in the right direction. In my opinion, Russia cannot do any more. If someone is so ensnared by Russophobia before he even hears out other arguments, then nothing can help to convince him.
In the Czech Republic we can see a gap which cannot be overcome by any arguments. The pro-Western part of the public is fanatic, filled with hatred, and does not want to listen to the other side’s opinion and is afraid of accepting it because such might uproot the very foundations of their worldview. For many of our people, the Soviet Union was the enemy and the US was a model and guarantor of freedom. But now the roles have been swapped. People have seen how the US is aggressive, defiant, attacks other countries and drains everything out of them, whereas today Russia has become the defender of the European values which have been lost in Europe. For many people who live in old schemes and fight old battles this is unacceptable, but some people are ready to realize this. The former do not understand that the world has changed. Nothing will convince these people. Everyone should arrive at this realization on their own. Over time, I believe, people will come to understand this.