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LN: Czech audience cannot see Ukrainian documentary on Zeman

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Prague, April 12 (CTK) – Czech viewers are not likely to see the Ukrainian documentary Czech Friends of the Kremlin on President Milos Zeman’s support for Moscow since the public Czech Television (CT) does not plan to broadcast it though it participated in the shooting, Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
CT news director Zdenek Samal helped the film crew very much providing archive shots and the TV studio equipment for them, the documentary film’s director Olga Malchevska, from the Ukrainian private TV 1+1, told LN.
However, now Samal, former CT reporter in Moscow and author of the Russian Mafia book, has not reacted to the paper’s question about the film, which focuses on the links of Zeman and his collaborators to Russian politicians and businesspeople.
“I have no information about CT to broadcast this documentary,” CT spokeswoman Albeta Plivova said.
LN writes that CT is not the only media outlet keeping silent about the investigative documentary.
The U.S-sponsored Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) also helped shoot the documentary. Under the contracts, the RFE/RL owns all rights to the film, Malchevska says, but the Prague headquarters of RFE/RL denies it.
This is an individual project of the radio’s collaborator and the RFE/RL has no rights to the documentary, its spokeswoman Joanna Levison told LN.
The paper writes that Malchevska worked at the Ukrainian section of the RFE/RL in Prague as a scholarship holder in 2014-2015.
The 50-minute documentary was shot in the Czech Republic last year and it is available in four language versions: Ukrainian, Russian, English and Czech.
“I have a cordial relation to the Czech Republic, your government has granted me a scholarship of Vaclav Havel. I have always connected your country with transparency, openness and anti-corruption fight. This is why I could not understand why President Zeman supported the Kremlin during the annexation of Crimea. I thought that there must be something more behind it than just his charisma and liking for alcohol,” Malchevska told LN.
When she expressed interest in shooting a documentary on Zeman last year, the Presidential Office refused to cooperate with her.
Malchevska wanted to ask Zeman about his particiaption in the international conference in Rhodes, organised annaully by businessman Vladimir Yakunin, former director of the Russian state railways and a close ally of President Vladimir Putin.
She tried to ask Zeman how much his trip to Rhodes cost twice at public meetings, but received only evasive answers. His spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said it was apparent that she would use it in her documentary.
The only person from Zeman’s circle who was willing to speak on his links to Russia on the camera was businessman Zdenek Zbytek, former tank division commander and Zeman’s good friend who is exporting wine form Moldova. Zeman and Yakunin are good friends, he told Malchevska, among others.
Apart from Zbytek, former Czech ambassador to Russia, Lubos Dobrovsky, former Czech EU commissioner Stefan Fuele and government commissioner for energy policy Vaclav Bartuska appear in the documentary, LN writes.
Though Malchevska’s film does not reveal anything surprising, Czechs cannot see it officially on TV. They have a chance to get to its English version on YouTube server now.
The only public screening of the documentary in the Czech Republic took place at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague two weeks ago, LN says.
In Ukraine, the film was broadcast on the Ukraine Yesterday private TV funded by Ukrainian-Jewish businessman Ihor Kolomoyskyi in Jauary, and the Russian version was shown by the independent Dozhd Internet TV.
Zeman has not seen the film and he does not intend to do so either, but he has commented on it via his spokesman. “The president does not plan to see this propaganda film. He has been informed about its content from the media,” Ovcacek told LN.

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