Prague, July 10 (CTK) – Czech experts say the creation of self-appointed national home guard groups is a serious security problem and point to their links to similar groupings in Russia which might abuse them for its benefit, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes in its Saturday issue.
It writes that the National Home Guard (NHG) already has some 90 branches across the country, the biggest numbers being in Prague, Ostrava, north Moravia, and the Central Bohemia Region.
LN writes that the creation of the groups is prompted by the fear of an alleged massive influx of Islamic immigrants into the Czech Republic.
In reality, however, a mere 415 foreigners applied for asylum in the Czech Republic in the first quarter of the year, whic was even 24 fewer than in the same period of last year. The applicants come mainly from Ukraine. People from Syria and Afghanistan have only filed some ten applications, LN writes.
“There will be hundreds of thousands of them, believe it,” a NHG leader says about migrants in a video, LN writes.
“It is an utterly dangerous trend. It is not possible that guys who are not in the military be running around forests here, wearing uniforms and playing at soldiers, particularly in a situation where we have heard some of them speaking about shooting at politicians,” LN quotes Andor Sandor, former head of the military intelligence, as saying.
That the groups are arming themselves is clear from a methodical manual that David Buchtela, a university teacher and chairman of a Prague branch of the far right National Democracy (ND) party, writes, LN says.
Buchtela recommends to the members of the NHG branches how to arm themselves. At the same time, he calls on them to also help in natural disasters, LN writes.
“The National Home Guard reflects the radicalisation of Czech society,” LN quotes former chief of staff of the military Jiri Sedivy as saying.
He said though this “may not yet be a dangerous development, it is definitely warning.”
Sandpor said the state is also to be partially blamed for the spontaneous emergence of home guard groups. It allows people to privatise defence, which is not possible. On the contrary, politicians must show that they are capable of looking after their people’s safety,” Sandor said.
Sedivy was even stricter in his assessment of the situation. “The source of dissatisfaction of people in the home guards rests in the political developments in the country where problems are spoken about, but little is done to resolve them. This is also connected with the developments in the European Union which has been suppressing the interests of smaller countries for the benefit of the large ones, particularly of late,” Sedivy said.
Political analyst Miroslav Mares, a leading Czech expert on extremism, said “the risk of these groups rests in that they could leave the framework of their activities in critical situations and become an instrument of hybrid war,” which Russia applied to disintegrate and annex Crimea and to destabilise eastern Ukraine.
The NHG leaders do not conceal their warm relationship to Russia, LN writes.
It writes that besides ethnographer Krejci, the leadership also includes Marek Obrtel, former military doctor and veteran from several foreign missions, and Ostrava businesswoman Nela Liskova.
According to the NHG website, Liskova recently became an honorary consul of the self-appointed Donetsk People’s Republic, LN writes.
It writes that the first “consulate” of the Donetsk Republic was opened in Ostrava even though the Czech Republic does not recognise the entity artificially created in the east of Ukraine.
Former Czech foreign minister Cyril Svoboda said the “consulate” cannot harm the Czech Republic, but that Czech diplomacy must dissociate itself from it, LN writes.
It writes that Liskova, Krejci and Obrtel took part in the celebrations of the second proclamation of the Donetsk and Luhanks republics in Donbass in February.
At the end of June, Liskova wrote to the Ukrainian ambassador in Prague that her organisation does not recognise the Czech aid to Kiev.
“The National Home Guard denounces the role which the United States and the European Union play in the preparation for and the financing and extending of the fratricidal fighting in Ukraine,” LN quotes from her letter.
The extreme rightist National Democracy (ND) party, headed by overtly racist politician Adam Bartos, uses similar rhetoric, LN writes and adds that he and his party initiated the creation of the national home guards.
Bartos also admires Vladimir Putin and hates the West, the European Union and the Czech government of Bohuslav Sobotka, LN writes.