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Remek ends as ambassador to Russia, Pivoňka to replace him

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Prague, Feb 13 (CTK) – Vladimir Remek left the post of Czech ambassador in Russia at the end of January and he will be replaced in Moscow by career diplomat Vitezslav Pivonka within a few months, Czech Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Irena Valentova told CTK on Tuesday.

According to CTK’s information, Remek went into retirement.

Remek’s departure was expected and his replacement by Pivonka was officially confirmed now that he received Russia’s agrement.

Remek, 69, headed the Czech embassy in Moscow for four years. In 2004-2013, he was a member of the European Parliament elected for the Communist Party (KSCM).

Remek was the first and so far only Czechoslovak in space in 1978. His father was Slovak, his mother was Czech. He was the first cosmonaut who was not a U.S. or Soviet citizen.

In 2015, Remek was not present to a meeting between Czech President Milos Zeman and Russian President Vladimir Putin. In reaction, then Czech foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said it looked as if Zeman did not trust the ambassador.

Zeman wanted Remek to become ambassador in Moscow, but Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg was against it and this developed into a sharp clash due to which new ambassadors were not named for some time. Remek was nominated only after the right-wing government of which Schwarzenberg was a member fell in mid-2013.

Pivonka was Czech ambassador in Azerbaijan. It is not yet known who will replace him in Baku. “He will go to Moscow in the next months,” Valentova said about Pivonka.

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