Farewell to the Stone Guest: Russia Threatens Czechs with Revenge

‘Our tanks will be in Prague! Russia is everything and everything else is nothing!, – these are the words that complete the statement published on the website of the Russian party Drugaja Rossija. This statement was published…

‘Our tanks will be in Prague! Russia is everything and everything else is nothing!, – these are the words that complete the statement published on the website of the Russian party Drugaja Rossija. This statement was published after the monument erected to the Marshal of the Soviet Union Ivan Konev was dismantled according to the resolution of the municipality of the sixth district of the capital of Chechia.   
This step was not like a bolt from the blue – a resolution to dismantle the monument from the public city area was passed last year. Talks that the capital of Chechia should get rid of the statue started after somebody left a note on the statue ‘Not to the bloody marshal – we will never forget’ on 21 August when Prague spring anniversary of 1968 was commemorated.
Of course, Czechs will never forget this double hero of the Soviet Union. Namely he was leading the operation ‘Tornado’ that buried in blood anti-communist uprising of Hungary in 1956. It was him who was in charge of the Soviet military delegation that was staying in Prague on 8-14 May 1968 – right at that time when the first attempt to break in Czechoslovakia and suppress the Prague spring was planned.  
Dismantling of the monument caused range of both the official Moscow and radicals of Russia. The Embassy of Russia called dismantling of the monument in Czechia ‘the act of unfriendly vandalism of the unreserved representatives of the city municipality’. Whereas Drugaja Rossija in its website alongside its threats to send tanks to Prague, claimed that ‘destruction of the monument to the Soviet marshal is a part of the strategy of the European state to reconsider outcomes of World War II’. Denying the merits of the Soviet people in the fight against Nazism, the government of Chechia took the path of justifying Nazism’.
Drugaja Rossija also took responsibility for the attack against the Embassy of Czechia in Moscow. That day a group of masked people threw a smoke canister to the territory of the Embassy and put a  poster on the fence saying “Stop fascism’. Nobody was arrested during the incident: the raiders managed to escape earlier than security people of the Embassy rushed to them. There were no announcements that participants of the attack were imposed any sanctions by the local authorities. Thus, we can say that everything ended just with an official note of the Czech Embassy to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. 
The reaction of ordinary Czechs to the attack of Russian radicals was more furious. We can see this from abundance of comments on local Internet portals. Here I will mention a couple of comments to the news about the incident published by the portal :
“I am for the Konev’s statue to be returned if a monument to Czech legionnaires, who wanted to liberate Russia from Bolshevik mafia, is erected in the Red Square’. ‘It is funny that people who make fascism in Russia and where you should forget about democracy appear with slogan ‘Stop fascism’. ‘I wonder why nobody was arrested, although all embassies are constantly guarded by the police and in Russia, also by special services, beyond all doubts’.  
The last comment is particularly symptomatic. How could it happen that members of a non-registered grouping of the Russian government came out clean, although they made a public statement that the attack against the Diplomatic Mission was conducted by them? Maybe this was because a grouping of extremists in some way represents the position of the Kremlin? Particularly, since the government of Russia took actions almost synchronically with the outside players and shortly after – law enforcement bodies, too.
However, we will talk about this a little bit later. Now let’s see what Drugaja Rossija, which shot the first bullet in the conflict between Prague and Moscow is. Who are the fighters against fascism, who do not avoid rhetoric and symbolism, we can say, that was made according to the pattern of the national socialists of the Third Reich?   
Members of the banned national Bolshevik party of Russia established a formation called a political party Drugaja Rossija in July 2010. The national party was established in 1994 by the writer Eduard Limonov, Egor Letov, the leader of the band Grazgdanskaja oborona, a patriarch of the Russian punk-rock and Alexander Dugin, a philosopher, developer and promoter of the Eurasian ideology. In a short while a big number of leaders from the Russian contra-culture joined this gathering, who promoted an alternative attitude towards politics, economy and art. However, the symbols of this formation speak for themselves – a flag of the political party reminded of the symbols of the Third Reich, only in the white circle of the red fabric black hammer and sickle were placed instead of swastika.      
We should mention that most national Bolsheviks and their tendency to radical actions do not win admiration of Vladimir Putin’s regimen. The party was not just registered, but in 2007 it was recognized by court as an extremist organization and its leader E. Limonov spent two years in the detention centre for illegal possession of the firearm.     
National Bolsheviks attempted to get onto the political arena for the second time in July 2010 after they established a political party Drugaja Rossija. However, the Ministry of Justice refused to register this formation again. Then the non-registered party went to the front of civil disobedience: they encouraged to boycott the population census, election to the local municipal government, organized a campaign against the military service, together with other non-registered outsider powers tried to establish the National Rescue Front and E. Limonov was intending to take part in the President’s election in 2012, however the Central Election Commission refused to register his candidacy.
However, despite the express demonstration of disapproval of the internal policy to the government and loud civil actions as if proving it, all oppositional moods of the former national Bolsheviks ended where imperial ambitions of the Kremlin regimen started.    
In 2013 when in Kiev started, which removed a pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych Drugaja Rossija took the side of the opponents of and later – the side of pro-Russian Donbas and Luhansk separatists. Not only by their declarations about necessity to fight against ‘’, General Vlasov, SS army and the U.S. State Department but also by their actions. In May 2014 Drugaja Rossija established a movement . As we can see from the website of this formation, since then over a thousand and a half persons were sent to fight on the side of Pro-Russian separatists in the Eastern Ukraine, although the Penal Code of Russia provided for a rather strict responsibility for recruitment of mercenaries and also for their participation in the armed conflicts outside the territory of its country. Indeed, these called these persons on their Website as volunteers, however who could believe that all of them were fighting just for the idea and without any remuneration?       
We have no information about which of these terrorists have been prosecuted. Thus, we should not even mention activists of Drugaja Rossija armed with smoke canisters and posters who chose the fence of the Czech Embassy as a frontline of anti-fascism. They served well to politicians of Russia and to its Themis.
Not accidentally Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, signed the order suggested by Sergey Shoigu, Minister of Defence and adopted by the Federation Council in regards to amendments to the Penal Code. Now destruction of the Soviet monuments or damage to them will be treated as a criminal offence not only in Lithuania but also abroad, which will constitute up to 5 years of imprisonment. Two days later, on 10 April Svetlana Petrenko, an official representative of the Russian Investigation Committee informed the news agency that a criminal case has been already brought ‘for public desecration of symbols of military glory of Russia’.
Let’s remember that this is not the first attempt of Russia to apply its jurisdiction to citizens of sovereign foreign states, acting in the territories of their states and according to laws of these states. A year ago the same Investigation Committee announced that it brought a criminal action against four judges who convicted the defendants in the case of January 13. All of them were charged with a criminal offence provided for in paragraph 2 article 305 of the Penal Code of the Russian Federation (knowingly unjust judgement).        
Of course, we think that both the investigation of the last year and the one initiated now are just the propaganda campaign designated mostly to the local use. The Russian law enforcement bodies shall have no real possibilities to enforce the passed judgements.  A foreign citizen convicted in default in Russia would simply not go to its territory or territories of the state of its influence and a hopeless thing is to get rid of such a ‘criminal’ with the use of Interpol.
Thus, the Marshal I. Konev will simply go to the historical museum of the 20 century. Drugaja Rossija that became the focus of the scandal, is getting ready for the planned meeting in autumn. The Kremlin’s regimen that is officially menacing to its players and quietly supporting them, will wait for new opportunities for new propaganda campaigns.     
Aras Lukšas

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