Moscow/Prague, Nov 22 (CTK) – The Russian army Zvezda TV has apologised for its mendacious web article praising the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and it will punish its editor-in-chief, Jiri Ovcacek, spokesman for Czech President Milos Zeman who is visiting Russia, wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.
Zeman has protested against the article posted on Zvezda’s website on Tuesday, which, however, disappeared from the web on Wednesday and was replaced by a long article about Zeman’s ongoing five-day official visit to Russia.
Ovcacek wrote that Zvezda TV’s deputy director phoned to the Czech embassy in Moscow on Wednesday and deeply apologised for posting the articles.
It ensued from the deputy director’s words that the editor-in-chief was to blame for the mistake and that he will be punished by a reprimand.
Zvezda TV will not cooperate with the article’s author any more. The article has been removed from the web, Ovcacek said, referring to the phone call from Zvezda.
The article, whose author Leonid Maslovsky praised the Soviet invasion, has met with stormy protests of the Czech political scene. Milos Zeman called Maslovsky “a brainless journalistic madman.”
Maslovsky wrote that “the entry of the troops into Czechoslovakia (in 1968) prevented the West from accomplishing a coup d’etat based on the technologies applied in the ‘velvet’ revolutions and preserved the life in peace for more than 20 years with the consent of all nations of the Warsaw Pact.”
He wrote that Czechoslovakia should be grateful to the Soviet Union for its intervention.
On Tuesday, the Zvezda server said the article expressed personal views of its author that cannot be identified with the views espoused by the editorial board.
On Wednesday, the editorial board has written that the web serves as a discussion forum for presenting various views, and adds that the existing views on the Prague 1968 events differ and are not unambiguous.
The board asserted that it is for further enhancing of Czech-Russian relations.
Another article on the Prague 1968 events appeared on the Zvezda server on Wednesday. It author Dmitry Sergeyev, an editor of the server, writes that historians and analysts consider the military solution to the political disputes in Czechoslovakia one of the most unreasonable foreign policy actions of the Soviet Union and one of the events that harmed the Soviet reputation the most.
Sergeyev also writes that one of those who openly protested against the invasion of the country was current Czech President Milos Zeman, then a university student, who was expelled from the Czechoslovak Communist Party because of his protest.
According to available information, Maslovsky, 61, completed studies of aviation and history and worked as a deputy general director in a Russian aircraft producer.
He previously published articles with headlines such as How the (Great) October revolution of 1917 saved and preserved Russia.
The Zvezda server cites Sergei Zheleznyak, a member of the Russian Duma’s foreign committee and leading representative of the government party, the United Russia, who said Zeman’s current visit to Russia is another proof for the Western Russophobes who are dreaming about the isolation of Russia that their plan has collapsed.
The Czech delegation’s trip to Russia confirms the efforts by a large part of Czech politicians and businesspeople to be independent from the “wrong policy of the European bureaucracy, which has led European nations into a crisis and a blind alley of sanctions,” Zheleznyak is quoted as saying.