Some years ago, when Václav Klaus was the Czech president, my country would be the ultimate headquarters of those who are not afraid to say what is crucial and importantly wrong about the contemporary European Union.
Well, at least the headquarters for the central and Eastern portion of the EU, but sometimes beyond this subset. I couldn't have hid my pride about those matters.
Thankfully, Klaus was succeeded by Miloš Zeman who has at least some balls (and when it comes to the Ukrainian matters, he at least opposes the sanctions). His opponent in the elections, Karel Schwarzenberg, is a good-nurtured charming aristocrat, I think, but with him as the boss of the Prague Castle, we would be the ultimate European sycophants.
Our new center-left government is a připosraný one, however. (My English is far from sufficient to allow me to translate this adjective: apologies. But it's something like "wearing preemptively partially šitted pants".)
I understand that our Polish brothers have some reasons for a visceral hatred of Russia – which doesn't apply to Ukraine and which affects their foreign policy – much like many other emotional issues that are so important for the Poles' thinking.
However, our attitude to the Russian-Ukrainian tension should naturally be very similar to the Slovak or Hungarian one. We don't have this "special" hatred of the Russians because in our historical experience, the Ukrainians and the Russians have played pretty much the same (mixed) role. And we have lots of ongoing trade with Russia that we surely don't want to sacrifice, at least not in the long run and without replacements.
But try to search Google News for Sobotka sanctions. Our PM Sobotka only says things like "the EU should solve the sanctions", perhaps the "EU should talk about compensating the farmers who are affected", and so on. But he would never say any clear sentence expressing an attitude or a plan. What he would say if the EU actually talked, and so on.
A diagram schematically showing the difference between the structure of Slovak and Czech muscles.
I have never been a big fan of the Slovak social democratic prime minister Fico, especially due to his lukewarm relationship to the Velvet Revolution etc. But yes, I do think that his physique looks better than that of Mr George Quimby Paroubek, his equally socialist Czech counterpart at some moment. ;-)
Needless to say, I am much closer ideologically to Hungarian PM Viktor Orban.
But those general ideological issues are not too important now. What's more important is that those men could actually present some independent vision and interests of their nations. A few days ago, Fico would point out that the sanctions are harming the Slovak economy and yesterday, he even dared to criticize the Kiev junta, despite its being the current best darling of the brainwashed sheep in the West, for its own sanctions against Russia.
Today, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban denounced the trade war with Russia, saying that the EU is shooting itself in the foot because the impact on Europe is actually more negative than the impact on Russia – which is bad even if the latter were the goal, and I surely think it shouldn't be one.
Where are we, the Czechs? We are nowhere to be seen on the map.
Just to be sure, various experts and supermarket chains predict the food prices to drop by 10-15 percent which would be very nice for us, the consumers. But the limited happiness would be partially compensated by fear about the fate of our agricultural and food industry sectors.
There are some aspects in which Václav Klaus was a rather typical Czech man. Of course, he was above the average or far from the average from many perspectives that I probably don't have to enumerate but you find perspectives in which he represented the typical (or most) Czechs rather faithfully.
But I would still say that the current government with its preemptively partially šitted pants is a more accurate representative of the average Czech citizen. After all, most of our ancestors would be rather happily licking the buttocks of our Habsburg overlords, Nazi overlords, and Soviet overlords, among others, so it shouldn't be shocking that most of us are eager to sacrifice 5% of the economy if it helps us to penetrate deeper into the rectums of our new overlords in Brussels – or some left-wing interventionist assholes in the White House, for that matter.
Of course, I am not happy about this picture of the Czech national character because the very concept of the national character is just a caricature that is moreover open to evolution – it may evolve in various directions and each of us may affect the evolution in some way. However, realistically, the Czech man as an opportunist coward who is more than happy to mindlessly obey someone else's commands is a good framework to predict the Czechs' behavior in many respects and the current Czech government isn't significantly deviating from this paradigm.
Yes, I have largely stopped watching the domestic politics because I consider the Brownian motion of these intellectual and political dwarfs to be an immense waste of my time; I will generously leave this "entertainment" to those who have voted for this stuff. I hope that I will still be around when these zeroes are going to be replaced by someone more valuable.