Prague, April 17 (CTK) – The Russian embassy in Prague will not have its seat in the square recently renamed after Russian politician Boris Nemtsov because it moved its administrative seat to the Korunovacni (Coronation) street where it had its consular section, Aktualne.cz news server writes today.
Nemtsov was Russian vice prime minister in the late 1990s. Later he published reports on corruption under President Vladimir Putin and organised events in support of fair elections and democracy. He was assassinated on a Moscow bridge five years ago.
The Russian Foreign Ministry criticised the renaming. Until today, the embassy had the old name of the square (Pod Kastany, or Under chestnut trees) on its website, although it was renamed nearly two months ago.
The server writes that the embassy now announced to the Czech Foreign Ministry that it will use its other building as its official seat. “This is actually merely an administrative step and we have no reason to disagree with it,” the ministry‘s spokeswoman Zuzana Stichova told Aktualne.
The server writes that the embassy did not answer the question about the reasons why the address of its seat changed.
“It seems odd to me. Even Vladimir Putin said the murder of Boris Nemtsov was wicked and cynical and its organisers must be punished,” Prague Mayor Zdenek Hrib (Pirates) said, adding that he cannot understand why Russia wants to avoid the situation of its embassy having its seat in a square named after somebody who was a Russian vice prime minister.
Prague councillors previously said the renaming is supposed to be a political gesture aimed at Russia as well as an expression of solidarity with the Russian political opposition and the human rights movement in the country.
At the occasion, Zhanna Nemtsova thanked all who agreed to rename the square as well as those who find the renaming distasteful, saying that the difference in opinion is a sign of a healthy democracy.
Nemtsov’s killers were already sentenced in Russia, but the investigators did not find out who ordered the politician’s murder.
There is a tension in the relations between Czechia and Russia, also because the statue of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev was removed from a Prague square earlier this month.
Konev’s statue was installed in 1980 in honour of his contribution to the liberation of Prague in 1945. But Konev also had an active role in the suppression of the Hungarian uprising against the Communist regime in 1956, crushed by the Soviet Army, the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 that put an end to the Prague Spring reform movement.
Prague District 6 wants to display the statue in the planned Museum of the Memory of the 20th Century.
The Russian Foreign Ministry protested against the removal of the statue and Russian investigating committee launched a prosecution of Prague 6 representatives over the removal. The Czech Foreign Ministry said the prosecution of Czech self-rule bodies by Russia is inadmissible.