The Czech Republic’s primary security concern, as highlighted in the 2022 annual report from the Security Information Service (BIS), is the aggressive actions of Russia. The report underscores that Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February of the preceding year posed a significant threat. However, the BIS commended the government’s actions in reducing the number of Russian embassy personnel within the country, which contributed to a safer environment by curbing espionage activities. The report further disclosed that the BIS warned of potential espionage threats from China, particularly within Czech universities.
The BIS annual report for 2022 emphasized that the most substantial risk to the Czech Republic emanated from Russia, which had initiated a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February. The reduction of Russian diplomatic staff within the Czech Republic was acknowledged as a constructive measure to mitigate espionage. The report noted that the BIS was actively involved in formulating an appropriate response to the Russian military operations in Ukraine.
BIS Chief Michal Koudelka presented a summary indicating that Russian embassy staff members were suspected of doubling as spies for Russia. The invasion in February underscored the excessive influence Russia had wielded in the Czech Republic in preceding years. The report also corroborated information about a Russian agent endeavoring to manipulate public opinion and support a pro-Russian agenda in Czech media through connections with local journalists and politicians.
The report dispelled concerns about increased security risks associated with the massive migration from Ukraine. Police data showed no significant rise in crime related to this migration. However, it noted an increase in the so-called pro-Russian scene, particularly manifesting through protests in the latter half of the previous year. The report described a gradual shift among some pro-Russian activists towards more hardened and radical positions in their support for the Russian Federation.
Furthermore, the BIS drew attention to potential threats posed by Chinese espionage. Chinese academics were identified as influential agents in shaping public opinion through their roles in Czech universities. The BIS expressed concerns about China’s cultivation of relationships with academics, utilizing their knowledge for political intelligence purposes, thereby exploiting academic cooperation for intelligence and propaganda objectives.
Regarding Islamic radicalism, the BIS reported a relatively calm situation in the Czech Republic. It noted that no Islamist radicals were detected among refugees from Ukraine within the country’s borders. In contrast, right-wing radicals were reported to have been involved in the conflict in Ukraine but did not engage in fighting or influence public opinion in the Czech Republic.