The television debate referenced below took place during the November visit of Czech Premier Milos Zeman to Sochi, Moscow and Yekaterinburg. The current interviewee, Doubrava, is a senator for the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia; his opponent in the debate was Frantisek Bublan of the Czech Party of Social Democrats. The interview has been shortened here to include those parts most relevant to U.S. policy. Please see link to original text for complete interview.

Halo noviny: “I heard your discussion with Sen. Bublan. He spoke about the Russian threat and you argued against him. Do you think Russia indeed poses no danger to us? And why?”

Jaroslav Doubrava: “Ideologically, there are no fundamental problems between Russia and the West, because we’re dealing with capitalistic states whose foremost principle is business and profit. All sides want, as far as possible, maximum earnings. What would they gain by Russia attacking someone? After all, to the west of Russia are only average economies and countries lacking great mineral wealth. But Russia a danger for Europe? A colossal stupidity.

“Currently, the greatest danger for Europe is the European Union itself, which, under American dictates, hops around like Pepek Vyskoc.* It refuses to realize that America’s effort and aim is to do serious economic damage to Europe, because from the moment it can no longer leach off African states with impunity, its economy goes downhill. Therefore, we have the sanctions against the Russian Federation, and therefore the induced migration, etc.”

Hn: “Sen. Bublan also believes that we are – and I exaggerate a little – surrounded by Russian spies. You’ve spoken on the matter before. What is your opinion?”

JD: “What would they be spying on? I can say with a bit of hyperbole that maybe they’re observing how Western spies occupy territory here with their pro-Western Czech agents, among them so-called nonprofit organizations. Industrial spies, by the way, are all over the world, in all states. But here, there’s probably not much you can spy on … There’s no need to spy on [our] disorganized industry, just like there’s no need to spy on the reality that we’ve become an assembly plant for foreign manufacturers, who line their pockets thanks to our stupidity.”

Hn: “There were also some words on Russia’s annexation of Crimea. You were there. What do you think about that, based on local experience?”

JD: “The majority of people in Crimea turned out for the referendum, and 96 percent of participants expressed their support for reattaching Crimea to Russia. That didn’t convince my colleague, and he labelled it a violation of international law. Logically, I had to react by pointing out that Kosovo was torn away from Yugoslavia at the price of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people who were murdered by American bombs without any mandate or referendum whatsoever. But according to my colleague, that’s not a violation of international law! I think you’ll agree that that’s a rather bizarre perspective on international law!

“I spoke with people during the entire time of my stay in Crimea. On the streets, at all possible kinds of meetings. They unequivocally rejected any possibility of being returned to Ukrainian rule! ‘Now for the first time we’re living, whereas until now we’ve been eking out a living. We’ll defend our own, even if means taking up arms! Never more under Ukraine.’ That’s what they told me, even though the Ukrainian blockade of the peninsula continually brings certain difficulties. From day to day, that can’t be changed!”

Hn: “In your opinion, is Russia as aggressive as the media, especially television, suggest, which is supposed to be evidenced precisely by the annexation of Crimea to the Russian Federation?”

JD: “The Americans have admitted that they spent $5 billion supporting the anti-Russian opposition in overthrowing and removing the legally elected president of Ukraine, which eventually resulted in a civil war. It’s part of the agenda of expanding NATO influence around Russia. An economic war between the U.S. and Russia followed. With its sanctions, the U.S. also dragged the European Union into the economic war as well. On the Western side, the repercussions of sanctions against Russia are felt primarily by the EU, but only very marginally by the United States. Russia responded to Ukrainian destabilization by re-annexing Crimea, which had been a part of Russia up until the Khrushchev era. The protests against the occupation of Crimea are just political theater. The CIA had anticipated the annexation of Crimea to Russia because it had traditionally been a Russian territory.

“One more thing. Look at the map of American bases near the Russian border and at the map of Russian bases around the world. Then try convincing me that the Russians are the aggressors! That response didn’t seem to appeal much to my colleague or to the moderator.”

*Translator’s note: The reference is to a character in the 1950s film adaptation of the 1920s Jaroslav Hasek novel, “The Adventures of the Good Soldier Svejk.” Vyskoc is an idiot and, as a paid informant of the Austro-Hungarian authorities, is meant to be viewed as a traitor of the Czech nation.