Competition among China, Russia, and the West is taking the form of a battle to build reactors in Eastern Europe.
As China wages a public relations offensive during the coronavirus pandemic, the Czech Republic is getting special attention. Facing pushback from the Czech political establishment, which has sought to disrupt efforts to deepen ties with China, Beijing is keen to use the global crisis to claw back its influence—beginning with so-called mask diplomacy.
The rise of populist, nationalist governments in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia have made these countries, the Visegrad Group, the black sheep of Europe. But their capitals—Prague, Budapest, Warsaw, and Bratislava—could offer a platform from which to challenge populism at the city level. Opposition mayors now run all four cities.
Eastern Europe has long resisted same-sex marriage. Prague might be about to change that.
How has the Czech Republic avoided the nationalist populism tearing apart Poland and Hungary? By not taking itself too seriously.
Tatiana Horakova has an impressive résumé: As head of a Czech medical nonprofit that sends doctors to conflict zones, she negotiated the release of five Bulgarian nurses held by Muammar al-Qaddafi in Libya, traveled to Colombia with former French President Nicolas Sarkozy to secure a hostage’s freedom from FARC guerrillas, and turned down three nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. Not bad for someone who might not even exist.
This week, Czechs will head to the polls for parliamentary elections and, if things go as expected, will elect as prime minister an embattled tycoon suspected of stealing money from the European Union and of having worked with communist-era secret police. Four big factors will determine the extent to which a Babiš victory could turn the Czechs toward Moscow — or at least against liberal society.
On a balmy spring evening, the Czech Embassy was packed with men in suits and women in cocktail dresses. All were gathered to celebrate Korbelová’s 80th birthday — or, as she’s better known to the rest of the world, Madeleine Albright.
Czech President Miloš Zeman told supporters gathered at Prague Castle on Thursday to celebrate the anniversary of his 2013 election that he will indeed run for a second term. The presidential elections will be held January 2018. Some suspect Zeman will back Babiš in exchange for Babiš’s supporting Zeman.
This year, Czech lawmakers proposed two amendments: one that threatened free speech, and one that might help protect it during and after 2017.