The October parliamentary elections will decide the future of Czech policy towards Russia. Will the Czech Republic strive for friendly relations, take a more cautious attitude, or will nothing change?
AMO launches the project “How to Approach Russia”, which aims to draw the attention of the voters, media, and politicians to the issue at hand. In the coming weeks, it shall map how the political parties are addressing the key issues of Czech-Russian relations and will also present recommendations for a well-thought-out Czech policy towards Russia.
First, we published a briefing paper by Pavel Havlíček and Vít Dostál, which compares the stances of Czech political parties to Russia, based on their election programs. It deals with the programs of ANO, ČSSD, KDU-ČSL, KSČM, ODS, Pirátská strana, SPD – Tomio Okamura, Starostové a nezávislí (STAN), TOP 09, and Strana Zelených, and also compares its stances in a table.
The Czech political parties – with the exception of the SPD and the KSČM – seem to have no interest in fundamentally changing the nature of relations with Russia, write the authors. “But that cannot soothe us. It seems that the ambiguous policy of the Czech Republic, which combines both the perception of Russia as a promising market and, on the one hand, as the security threat, will continue. Additionally, the detailed goals of the parties are often ambiguous or mutually incompatible. Finally, it is striking that the parties rarely refer to the sanction regime against Russia,” said Vít Dostál, the director of the AMO Research Center.
Without a discussion of the key issues of Czech-Russian relations, our foreign policy would remain halfway, similarly as it is today. In addition, we shall publish interviews with the representatives of the main political parties, in which we shall ask them what their position on this issue is. For better understanding of the individual party programs, we shall launch an election calculator. We shall then reach out to the general public through an interactive game.
Last but not least, we shall present our vision of how the Czech policy towards Russia should look like in a policy paper. We shall also discuss the topic during the IX International Symposium “Czech Foreign Policy” at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where we organize a panel on Wednesday, October 4, at 11:45 am.
The project is supported by the Open Society Fund Prague.