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Russian minority increasingly divided

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Prague, June 3 (CTK) – The relations in the Russian community in the Czech Republic are worsening due to the situation in Ukraine, rivalry and clashes of interests of Russian businesspeople and the failure to respect the life here by the new arrivals, the annual report on the situation of minorities has said.
Drafted by the government council for ethnic minorities, the report is to be debated by the government on Wednesday. It also mentions the lobbying of some Russians in parties and the parliament.
“The division of views in the Russian minority has crossed the bounds of desirable plurality, dangerously touching upon the majority society,” the report said.
“There are the signs of promoting authoritarian systems and politicians that clash with the democratic values of the state,” it added, referring to the Russian representative in the council.
Last year, the situation got even more complicated due to the tension between Russia and the EU over Ukraine.
The “rivalry of Russian businesspeople and clashes of their interests in the Czech Republic” are another reason, the report said.
There is a complicated relationship between the Russians who have lived here for a long time and the new arrivals, it added.
The latter have their own ideas of the life in the Czech Republic, disrespecting the rules and values in the country and preferring their own interests, the report said.
“Some aggressive individuals” lobby in parties and the parliament, it added.
The report mentions the propaganda of Vladimir Putin’s regime. It names the Russian minority section of the Institute of Slav Strategic Studies as an institution with dubious financing.
It says that last year, the institute staged a seminar along with Czech deputy Tomio Okamura (Dawn) that was supposed to “truthfully clarify Russia’s humanitarian role when the civilian population was murdered by the Ukrainian military in eastern Ukraine.”
The representative of the Russian minority in the government council said a substantial part of the Russian professional classes in the Czech Republic were critical of Russia’s conduct, but only a part of them are ready to speak out.
The visible ones are primarily the “advocates of the opposite end of the political spectrum,” he added.
Some Slovaks, too, speak about uneasy relations within their minority. Tension was caused by the establishment of the Slovak House in Prague without a prior consultation of Slovak associations, one of them said.
Representatives of the minorities who are members of the council complain about a shortage of money for their activities.
Romany representatives warn of discrimination against Romanies in the sphere of employment and housing.
They say they have small if any influence on the dealing with problems affecting Romanies.
Vietnamese point out the problem of their second generation to assert themselves on the labour market and place their children in kindergartens.
Greeks complain about prejudices against their minority.
Ruthenians warn of the ageing of their minority and the reluctance of Ruthenians to join the work of their associations.
Croatian representatives complain about the scattering of Croatians across the whole of the Czech Republic, due to which the work with the ethnic minority is difficult. German representatives warn of the same problem.
The original version of the 2012 report warned of “Russia’s fifth column.” As the information provoked sharp reactions from various sides, the government withdrew it and discussed a new wording.

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