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Russian reporter rejects spying allegation, asks PM for help

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Prague, May 5 (CTK) – Alexander Kuranov, a Russian journalist living in Prague whose accreditation the Foreign Ministry did not extend based on information from the Czech intelligence, on Thursday rejected the view that he is a Russian spy and he asked Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka for help in writing.

Czech government’s spokesman Martin Ayrer said Sobotka has not dealt with the open letter yet.

Ayrer said it is the Foreign Ministry that makes the decision on the issue.

Kuranov writes that he has a very friendly relation to the Czech Republic and that the spying suspicion is offensive. The present situation is a great tragedy for him, he says.

He said he is angry because he was recently labelled a sleeping agent of Moscow who has been reactivated, although he has been living in the Czech Republic for nearly 30 years.

Kuranov told CTK that he has already written letters to the prime minister, the foreign minister, the BIS counter-intelligence chief and the Presidential Office, but he has received no answer until now.

He said he does not know what to do next. If he took the matter to court, it would cost money and last long, he added.

In his letter, he declared that he often cooperated with Czech media and critically commented on the developments in Russia. He says his children and grandchildren live in the Czech Republic and they consider it their homeland.

He writes that he addressed Sobotka since the prime minister is in charge of the secret services.

Vladimir Snegiryov, the other Russian reporter whose accreditation has not been extended, also protested against being branded a Russian agent operating in Prague.

The Czech Foreign Ministry said previously it cannot give details on the case because the information on rejected accreditation applications is classified. The ministry said both reporters can keep doing their work in the Czech Republic. They worked in the country for several years without applying for the accreditation, it said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry recently said it had no other choice than to take corresponding retaliatory measures against Czech journalists.

In the past several years, controversies repeatedly emerged between Prague and Moscow over the accreditation of their reporters.

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