I told you this would happen!
Echoes of 1968” – Czech politicians denounce Russian aggression against Ukraine
Length of audio 3:08
An Ukrainian serviceman points to the direction of the incoming shelling next to a building which was hit by a large caliber mortar shell in the frontline village of Krymske, Luhansk region, Ukraine, Feb. 19, 2022|Photo: Vadim Ghirda, ČTK/AP
President Putin’s decision to recognize the independence of the breakaway Ukrainian republics of Donetsk and Luhansk and station troops in Donbas under the guise of protecting Russian citizens there has raised hackles in the Czech Republic, bringing back memories of the Russian-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, also undertaken under the scenario of “brotherly assistance” from Russia.
Czech politicians were quick to denounce the aggression against Ukraine on Monday night accusing Russia of breaking international law, the Minsk Agreements and violating the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine. Prime Minister Petr Fiala said the Czech Republic was standing firmly behind Ukraine in this crisis. Speaking to the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday morning Mr. Fiala said the international community must stand united against this latest aggression from Russia.
“We cannot close our eyes to what is happening. Europe is a step away from war. Russia’s recognition of the breakaway republics and its military presence in Donbas is an act of aggression against a sovereign state in breach of international law. President Putin’s address on Monday night clearly showed his ambitions and his intentions. This aggression is not the first and will not be the last. We saw it 14 years ago in Georgia and 8 years ago in Crimea. It would be naïve to think that Putin’s efforts to restore the influence of the former Soviet Union will stop in eastern Ukraine.”
Jan Lipavský|Photo: Office of Czech Government
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský told reporters that the Czech Republic was ready to support whatever sanctions the EU agreed on. The Czech foreign minister announced earlier that the ministry was sending humanitarian aid worth 10 million crowns to Ukraine, and now added that the government was ready to step up aid to the country depending on its immediate needs.
The reaction to the Russian scenario in Ukraine has been particularly strong in the Czech Republic, evoking reminiscences of the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, also undertaken under the scenario of “brotherly assistance” from Russia and the need to protect the “socialist order”.
Defense Minister Jana Černochová called Russia’s recognition of the separatist republics in eastern Ukraine an effort to “restore the Soviet Union at the expense of free and sovereign countries.” The civilized world must never tolerate that; it is not just Ukraine on Putin’s chessboard, we are there as well,” the defense minister tweeted.
The Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Markéta Pekarová Adamová wrote on Twitter that if the Czech Republic were not a member of NATO, it would be similarly threatened as Ukraine. “It is our duty to stand by Ukraine in this” she said.
The opposition ANO party and the Freedom and Direct Democracy party have likewise denounced Russia’s aggression.
And, President Miloš Zeman, whose pro-Russian stand is widely known and who recently dismissed the possibility of Russia invading Ukraine, broke several days of silence on the Ukrainian crisis on Tuesday morning to say –via his spokesman – that the presence of Russian troops in Donbas increased the risk of a military conflict and decreased hopes of a diplomatic solution.
For several years I have been trying to bring to the attention of the Austrian Government the existence of the large canvas at the University of Oregon Museum titled ‘The Last Audience of the Habsburgs’ that was smuggled out of Austria. Alas, I have found just the right person. He is my kindred, Karl Schwarzenberg, who himself had to flee a oppressive regime. Karl opposes Putin, and backs Britain. I will contact him and see if he would like to come give a talk on this painting. His relative, Prince Felix Schwarzenberg, restored the Habsburg Empire.
President: Royal Rosamond Press
Prince Felix of Schwarzenberg (German: Felix Prinz zu Schwarzenberg; 2 October 1800 – 5 April 1852) was a Bohemian nobleman and an Austrian statesman who restored the Habsburg Empire as a European great power following the Revolutions of 1848. He served as Minister-President of the Austrian Empire and Foreign Minister of the Austrian Empire from 1848 to 1852.
Karel Schwarzenberg is the Prince of Schwarzenberg, Duke of Krumlov, former first Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic and honorary Chairman of Top 09 party. Schwarzenberg was also a Member of the Senate of the Czech Parliament and a candidate for the President of the Czech Republic in the 2013 presidential election. He is noted as a pro-European member of the center-right governing coalition.
Schwarzenberg’s family, who once ranked among the oldest and wealthiest aristocrats in Central Europe, had to leave the Czechoslovakia after the Communist coup of 1948. He spent most of his adult life in Austria to plot against communism. He is a great proponent of human rights and has been for his entire life. In 1989, he was awarded, together with Lech Wałesa, the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Award. Lan Anh Vu sat down with Schwarzenberg to learn more about his political life, the challenges he faced and his advice for young people across the world when it comes to pursuing a career in politics.
As told to Lan Anh Vu
My Career in Politics
In my early childhood, I was an observer of politics. In 1948, when the Communists took over, I was ten years old when I had to leave the Czechoslovakia and move to Austria. When I went to the school in Vienna to study law, I engaged in some political activities and became active in promoting human rights. At Munich university where I studied Graz and forestry, I was elected to student government. Due to the early death of my adoptive father, Jindrich Schwarzenberg, I had to cut my studies short and start managing the family properties.
From 1984 to 1991, I became president of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights. I pushed for human rights in Europe and was negotiating the question of human rights in the former USSR, Bulgaria, Kosovo and the Czech Republic.
When the Communist regime fell in 1989 , I returned to live in the Czechoslovakia and work for the late President Vaclav Havel. In 1990, I was appointed as the Chancellor of the Office of the President.
Some people told me I should become a senator. I first ran in the senate elections in 2002 and was unsuccessful, and in 2004 I ran again, succeeded and was elected a senator. Three years later, I became the foreign minister of the Czech Republic. Politics has been a constant part of my life ever since childhood.
My whole life I fought for liberty and democracy. I always thought that if you had opportunities ahead, you have responsibilities and should do something for your country.
When this unfinished canvas was first exhibited in Eugene fifty years ago, it was described as a “painting with a history as romantic as old Vienna.” Given that it was smuggled into the United States in a carpet roll by a political refugee, this claim is not unfounded.
The artist began the work in October of 1918 at Schönbrunn Palace, where the young Empress Zita (1892 – 1989) received an audience of war orphans and a group of wealthy noblewomen, the Organization of War Godmothers, who had “adopted” them. Within hours, Empress Zita (shown seated on her throne), her husband, and their own eight children were forced to flee across the Swiss border because of the contentious political climate. Despite several attempts, they were never able to reestablish themselves on their thrones; both the Emperor and Empress died in exile.
Party seeks to restore monarchy
DECEMBER 19, 2007
Koruna Ćeská would rebuild the ancient Czech Kingdom
Former Prime Minister Miloš Zeman called them “one of the parties that could fit in an elevator.” Social Democrat Party Chairman Jiří Paroubek once referred to them as “not even small fish, but plankton.”
The members of Koruna Česká, a national party that wants to transform the government into a constitutional monarchy, are used to condescendence.
But, with between 400 and 500 members and government representation in four municipalities, Koruna Česká is not just some farcical movement.
“We’re not satirists, and we’re not some virtual party,” says party Chairman Václav Srb. “We’re simply the political embodiment of a movement to reunify the historic territories of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia under the Czech crown.”
Today, the crown jewels of the old Czech kingdom are locked away by seven keys, asleep in a secured chamber within the St. Vitus Cathedral. But if Srb and his fellow party members have their way, the storied St. Václav crown — the very same headpiece conceived by Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV in the 14th century — would once again adorn the head of a Czech monarch.
Koruna Česká was founded in 1990 as the reincarnation of České děti, a monarchist movement that sprang up in the revolutionary atmosphere of 1988. That year, the dissident members of České děti published a manifesto advocating the renewal of the Czech kingdom, which was reprinted by communist newspaper Rudé právo in an effort to discredit the group. “By showing the public that the dissidents had become monarchists, the comrades wanted to prove that [the dissidents] had gone completely insane,” Srb says. “However, it had the opposite effect.”
By publishing key passages of the manifesto, Rudé právo brought the movement to the attention of dozens of like-minded individuals who had previously thought they were alone in their views. In 1991, over 400 people filled the Realistické (now Švandovo) theatre in Smíchov for Koruna Česká’s first official assembly. “Until then, each of us thought that we were isolated in our persuasion,” Srb says. “Every monarchist was therefore pleasantly surprised to learn that there were more of us who had found the same solution.”
Czech monarchists raise money to give the grandson of the last King of Bohemia a crown
The Association for the Restoration of the Czech Kingdom has raised money to make a copy of the St. Wenceslas Crown for Charles Habsburg. The grandson of the last Austrian Emperor Charles I, who was also the king of Bohemia and Hungary, will celebrate his 60th birthday on January 11.
Charles Habsburg is unlikely to ascend the throne in the Czech Republic anytime soon, but his chances of getting the St. Wenceslas Crown for his birthday are considerable. If he is willing to settle for a copy, that is. The gift to order was made by the Turnov jeweler Jiří Urban and commissioned by the Association for the Restoration of the Czech Kingdom – a small group of enthusiastic monarchists who feel that the nation would fare much better under a monarch.
The Czech-Republican is a member of NATO and the Ukraine is not. Any attack upon Czechoslovakia, will be met with NATO forces. We are in a information war with Russia. Putin is motivated by his desire to see the Romanov Empire restored.
Virginia is kin to Empress Zita and I descend from the Sensheim-Schwarzenbergs via my Rosamond family in America. The Free World can help build a Royal Mountain
This was meant to be! So be it!
Virginia’s family is kin to the Habsburgs via her Cosse-Brissac relatives.
Vinzenz was 1,300th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Austria. From his first marriage (1981–1991) with Hélène de Cossé-Brissac (1960–) he had two daughters:
Princess Adelheid Marie Beatrice Zita (b. Vienna, 25 November 1981), married in Deutschfeistritz-Peggau on 31 January 2009 Count Dominic von(b. London, 7 October 1973), son of Count Hans Heinrich von Coudenhove Kalergi and wife Cornelia Carter Roberts
Princess Hedwig Maria Beatrice Hermine (b. Vienna, 28 November 1982), married in Schloss Waldstein on 10 May 2008 Comte Olivier de Quélen (b. Paris, 25 April 1980), son of Jean-Louis, Comte de Quélen and wife Nicole Cansou