By Bradley Blankenship
Around 70,000 people gathered in Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Saturday to demand the resignation of their government in response to what they see as a failure to address the ongoing energy crisis. The protesters were also explicitly against the two foremost Western institutions that the formerly Eastern-aligned nation is a part of, namely the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
If you ask Prime Minister Petr Fiala of the Civic Democratic Party (ODS) what the problem is, he’d simply say that these tens of thousands of people are just unknowing pro-Russian stooges. To quote him verbatim, he said “the protest on Wenceslas Square was called by forces that are pro-Russian, are close to extreme positions and are against the interests of the Czech Republic.” He reiterated his stance on Monday after criticism, calling the organizers of this protest a “Russian fifth column.”
I find it very unlikely that so many people took time out of their day to rally in support of the Russian state. On the contrary, what actually drew 70,000 people to the streets on Saturday is to do with the fact that the cost of living is rising tremendously, real wages are falling and the government is insisting on a foreign policy line that is exacerbating the problem. It is all perfectly logical and does not require a conspiracy.