“Putin’s regime threatens us. We have a weak defense”

In the last few years, Russia has focused its economic power for reconstruction, modernization and modern education of its armed forces, as stated in an interview HlídacíPes. org a former Ambassador to Russia luboš dobrovský.

“Freedom of speech without responsibility for the freedom. In some cases, on the contrary, may become a moral crime,” — said in an interview HlídacíPes.org a former dissident, signatory of Charter 77, the Czechoslovak Minister of defence, Chancellor of President Vaclav Havel, former Ambassador to Russia and a journalist Lubos dobrovský.

Robert Brestan: You have received an award named Ferdinand Peroutka, including for his journalistic activities. Journalism is changing, primarily under the influence of the Internet. What is your opinion about modern journalism?

Lubos dobrovský: there have Been great changes. Some journalists arrogate to themselves the right to be more than just educated disseminators of opinions and information that is exempt from the interests of any party. In addition, we have amended with an unclear position. Unknown to me — perhaps with the exception of Respekt and Eco in the early — revision, in which people share similar opinions, and the purpose of the editor to present to his readers the arguments in favor of its values and attitudes. Separate conversation — owners. Most of them agreed with the editors, but that was before. I resent the language of negligence, which many editors do not think about language. It is very sad, even criminal… well, a lot of things.

— You mentioned media owners. You mean in the first place, Andrew Babish and his triple role — of a businessman, politician and owner of the media?

— I think this is a common problem, but of course there are particularly striking moments. The firm Agrofert of Babish on the political solution became the owner of several publications and a radio, and it is clear that the Prime Minister pursues its own political interests, which, in my opinion, anti-democratic. However, Babish not alone in this. In the media sphere includes other rich people. Only then, they become real oligarchs and radically affect public opinion.

— That is, if your older son, the businessman, Jan dobrovský, decided to start a business in the media, you told him?

— Probably, serious disagreements would not come. But if he decided to support some financial grants-some editors, why not. It is important that this revision, and what her value system. If it was some “Cut” of the Haiok… But this son, perhaps, never have occurred.

Freedom of speech is not all

— Back to the changes in Czech media…

Yeah, it’s not all that we have going on. True journalism is like losing power. Especially when its creators in the form of his letters and sayings close to what is happening in the so-called social networks. I have, albeit reluctantly, looked in, and I had a very unpleasant experience. Anyone who wants is free to write anything he wants, regardless of his willingness to subject, professional and moral. Everyone writes their own, and, surprisingly, those who expressed unqualified and it is roughly more than those who maintain a certain culture of language, culture, point of view, which is determined by the good special education.

Usually it is objected that there is freedom of speech and anyone is free to speak — even those who have no qualifications.

Is another question: what is freedom of expression in a democratic state? Freedom of speech without responsibility for the freedom. In some cases, on the contrary, may become a moral crime… the Very name “social networking” is reminiscent of another context of the use of the adjective “social” in the Czech language. I mean the Czech expression “social equipment” – that is, the toilet. And in this connection it occurred to me that these social media is a cesspool.

— That is, in your opinion, the main difference between the approach of the journalist and writings in social networks that the journalist should be held accountable for written guarantee?

— Of course. Authentic journalism is institutional. There are editors, which can, but not necessarily like. With edition I can link the proximity of opinions, or just expectations. Or revision may not justify my expectations as of late have disappointed me edition Есһо24, which became the center of anti-German sentiment, for some unknown reason. In General, the authentic journalism brings together not only the edition, but also her readers.

But whether these changes can explain the huge number of sources, high speed requirements, the influence of social networking and propaganda, deliberately distorted information?

— I agree with you. However, it is not just quantity of information but in a state of society. It seems to me that our society has gone social strata that could somehow identify. There is hardly a newspaper, radio or television, which Express the needs, demands and opinions of a certain social class. There are radio stations, which broadcast music, favorite our youth, but this is something else. We’re talking about journalistic work that reflects political, political-economic and social position. And that I was missing.

— Recently published a survey according to which half of Czechs do not trust the Pro-Western orientation of our country, nearly 70% would like the power of the strong hands… that surprises You?

— You can say no. Even those people with whom I communicate, I note a need to balance a critical attitude to modern Russia a critical attitude to the United States. Among the people whose opinions are close to me, these arguments are more cautious and focused: they talk about the number of failures in American politics. These people seek the answer to the question of how in General the situation in Syria, Iraq and the Islamic world, blame the US and their unfinished war in Iraq, and how all this contributed to the fact that today we face an incredible wave of immigration, which is dangerous for us in many ways.

But these questions are justified…

— Of course, the US is not sinless. But we cannot say that the errors of the United States as dangerous to us as the deliberate actions of the government of President Putin. I always try to separate Russia from the Russia of the regime that rules there today. Russia is a complex country, which has made a great contribution to the formation of European culture. Only those regimes that existed there, never aspired to democracy.

Vladimir Remek was supposed to retire

— By the way that you, as a former Ambassador to Russia in 1996 — 2000, I thought if the President would not have invited you for talks with President Putin, as happened with Vladimir Remek. Instead, Zeman went to meet with a counselor Needles and Chancellor Minaram?

— It’s not what I thought important that I did. I immediately filed to dismiss. By the way, I also went to the post in Russia, when the then Minister Kavan tried to impose upon me as a trade adviser to the man who was formerly personnel officer of the trade division of the Ministry of foreign Affairs and had its own company in Russia. I insisted that such a person can not work, because in a dispute with the Ministry of I lost, the Ambassador to stay I could not. To resign was Mr Remek.

— What do you think happened there behind closed doors?

I don’t know what happened there. I just know that it does not.

— Do you follow the Czech so-called alternative usually Pro-Russian sites?

Several times I went to them and say that it’s not exactly spontaneously created projects. These sites are obviously well-organized. Together they weaken the democratic elements of our political and social life, pointing primarily to the fallacy of our orientation to the European Union and NATO. So it is understandable: they tend to support the Kremlin’s position, headed by President Putin. I would venture to suggest that the organizing centre has been managed by the current Russian regime and, in addition, receives some funding. Why so many Czech citizens donating your money, I don’t know, however, as we have said, in the Czech Republic many of those who oppose our Western orientation.

— Could you try to uncover their motivation? What are the reasons?

It is a challenge for sociologists, and I would like to know about it. Probably a lot of reasons. But I have to say that václav Klaus, whom I appreciate very critical, has long said that one of the greatest misfortunes of our social life is the degradation and degeneration of political parties. The political parties had no members, there is no genuine program. In fact, they do not represent the opinion of some socio-economically identifiable layers based, at least I think so, only ideologically empty phrases that obscure. The problem in the fact that we, despite a large number of young people studying Humanities and social Sciences in this sphere is incredibly falling standard of education. Maybe we should go back to understanding that we need to identify with Europe to be Europeans, we need to know what are the cultural and value base on which we stand.

— What, in your view, the main objectives of Russian propaganda in Central Europe, in particular in the Czech Republic?

The specifics of the Czech Republic is that now, with the exception of former President Klaus and President Zeman, in political service, there is people who clearly advocated for the need to bond with the Kremlin, and the Kremlin, close to Prague. But in Slovakia and Hungary, such people lead the government. What are the goals of Russia? Why do we always ask this question to which nobody gave an answer?

— And the answer is?

The answer was given by Vladimir Putin a few years ago, when no one asked. At a conference on security in Munich, he said that Russia was the collapse of the Soviet Union is extremely weak and humiliated, and now the regime wants to return Russia to its great power status. The goal is to return a huge influence in the Kremlin, that is in the field of security, economy, military sphere, politics, the whole region once controlled by the Soviet regime.

The competition for the idea of the state

— That is and us, Russia still perceives as its former satellites?

— Not Russia, and mode. And his highly skilled propaganda inspires even the citizens of the Russian Federation this goal as something fair because it is a fair position before. Such a geopolitical approach to the world, some Messianic principle, rooted in Russia for a long time. After all, Russia with its size, the country with the largest area, has emerged as a colonial, Imperial power, which had attached their colonies to the mainland until, until there was this in all respects heterogeneous colossus. It is heterogeneous ethnically, culturally, religiously, economically and climatically, has nine time zones. And all these differences need to be overcome by one single idea. However, Russia as a state has never been the state idea, which would be based on the same principles as that of European nation States or the United States. It has gone so far that in the 90-ies of the then President Boris Yeltsin announced a competition for the idea of the state.

I have to admit, I hear this for the first time.

— You laugh, but at the time I was the Czech Ambassador to Moscow, and I was not at all funny. An application to the competition were submitted by a single person, a historian, who offered a thesis based on a modern and, I would say, non-Russian vision. He wrote that a state idea can only come in if all this conglomeration of heterogeneous elements will be separated and in the process a kind updates, based on free decisions, there will be a system that will get the state idea, born from the needs of those who want to unite for a common goal. But nothing of the sort happened. Yeltsin resigned, and his successor was Vladimir Putin. As an idea it suggests grandeur, dignity and participation of Russia in all the main processes that affect the fate of the world. Putin and his entourage openly declare it. But we face a very dangerous Russian propaganda, need to explain, why can’t similar to take, and why for us it is a threat.

— How do you think why all of this for us is a threat?

A threat to us, in particular, is associated with our past and the Soviet Union, his influence in our country. Threat to us in the loss of freedom. We remember the loss of freedom of ideas, opinions, the loss of economic freedom and, finally, loss of lives and the creation of concentration camps in which tens of thousands of Czech citizens. It was, in particular, due to the fact that at that time, the leadership of Czechoslovakia identified themselves with the Soviet idea and the Moscow regime.

— Because of low oil prices, Russia’s economy today is poor… But the actual today of the words of václav Havel in the late 90-ies: “If you want to help us, help Russia?” He meant that Russia’s economic problems even more dangerous?

— Since then, much time has passed. It is the opinion of Vaclav Havel at the time was correct, but Russia was completely different. She had another President who, despite all the shortcomings and all the drinking, was the one who made possible the creation of democratic institutions in Russia. And the fact that he no longer had the strength, ability and vision to fill these institutions, is another matter. In General, at the moment when Russia began to appear democratic elements, the words Havel made sense. But with Putin, the situation is different. In the last few years, Russia has focused its economic power for reconstruction, modernization and modern education of its armed forces. For example, even the war with Georgia and a military operation in Syria should we perceive as real military exercises, which are designed to show the Russian government, where there are gaps, and that can quickly correct.

A misunderstanding with the fifth article

— How do you see the most realistic scenario of development of relations between Russia and Europe? How, in your opinion, would Russia join Sweden in NATO?

I don’t want to be a prophet of evil, but when the current NATO Secretary General says that we need to strengthen the defense of Europe against possible Russian attack, and says he does not want world war, I think we are moving to the same balance of military forces which maintained for a long time in the cold war. For us it was marked by many unpleasant consequences, and yet a major armed conflict did not happen. Mutual deterrence was so strong that none of the parties did not want to go to the aggravation, including excessive armament or rearmament.

— Today, however, the balance of forces is different, including the fact that former Communist countries now in NATO…

— The situation is different, and the power of the Soviet Union was much larger than that of Russia today. But the question is, does the current Russian regime to resolve the type of the cold war, or he is aware of certain defense gap with the West. I can clearly see the gap.

Under a lag do you mean investment in defence, has long remained low?

— The question is not only investments, but in the General understanding of what defense is. Our governments have too long been a false impression that everything is in order, that NATO is so strong that nothing can happen, and what we have a small professional army. There are many other disadvantages in addition to the quality of weapons and the size of our peaceful army. Its strength is not enough, because this army is not capable of mobilization completion. We forgot about forming a reserve to replenish the army no one. Our defence is weak because our government — I do not know intentionally or due to insufficient knowledge of the English language — correctly translates the fifth article of the North Atlantic Treaty.

— Why is it wrong?

In the fifth article does not say about the automatic obligation of all to protect a member who was attacked. It is that will vote. In addition, in the contract there is a third article, which requires all member countries to create such a defense force that can defend the country under attack, until the activation of the fifth article, and provided no time limit. All is not easy. Civic consciousness of responsibility even begins to slowly rise, but still not enough. Overall, this leads me to the conclusion that the Czech Republic is not functioning and integrated defence policy.