According to Just, among the participants of the demonstration were people who are afraid of how they will manage the current and future situation due to rising energy prices. “These people did not get along with the people on stage,” points out Just, head of the Department of Political Science and Anglophone Studies at the Metropolitan University of Prague.
Guest: political scientist Petr Just. Hosted by Zita Senková
“But without a doubt, there were also people who sympathized with the organizers and the characteristics of Petr Fiala would fit them,” adds Just.
The Prime Minister stated that disinformation campaigns are repeatedly appearing in the Czech Republic and that the organizers of the demonstration are taking advantage of the current tense situation and people’s fear of the future and high energy prices.
“They are trying to use all this for their political benefit, but they are not presenting the recipes. Those slogans and interpretation of events point to pro-Russian attitudes. In my opinion, it does not correspond to the interests of the Czech Republic and our citizens,” said Petr Fiala.
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Just partially vindicates Fial: “Among the organizers were entities that belong to the pro-Russian disinformation scene.”
“But those who came to the demonstration were not only representatives of this movement. Similar demonstrations by various opposition or anti-system entities often attract attention not only among those who are ideologically connected with them, but also among those who come to express some form of protest,” explains the political scientist and adds:
“Of course, the organizers benefit from this. Although they cannot automatically assume that each of the participants will vote for them in the elections or support them in the long term.”
According to Just, the reactions of the ministers to the demonstration were moderate, and he attributes this to the fact that they probably tried to show that they were aware of the people’s situation, also due to the misinterpretation of Fial’s statement.
“They also poured ashes on their heads in terms of how the government communicates its policy, especially in the area of the energy crisis,” adds the political scientist. The government recommends that it further improve its crisis communication.
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Three weeks until the election
The Russian state agency TASS and RIA Novosti wrote that events comparable to November 1989 could occur in the Czech Republic.
“Autumn will certainly be hot,” concludes political scientist Just. “Especially because this demonstration came three weeks before the election.”
A political scientist describes municipal elections as second-order voting, because according to them, a new parliament and government are not formed. “It will be like a quarterly report card for the government, maybe even a yellow card,” he says, noting that elections in the interim cabinet work similarly every time.
Minister of Justice Petr Blažek (ODS) said that he was afraid that dissatisfaction in society would not result in a revolution.
“Every time any country has faced serious social economic problems, it has led to radicalization of society. Therefore, it should not be underestimated even today. I don’t want to compare it to a major economic crisis, but I want to say that people’s economic power affects their voting behavior,” summarizes the political scientist and points out:
“And it doesn’t have to end with voting in elections, but it can escalate into violent actions.”
“So far, and let’s be happy, there are no violent actions. Even the demonstration at the weekend was peaceful, which of course must be appreciated,” says the political scientist. “But if the crisis deepens, civil protest will also become radicalized. And it’s not just a question of the Czech Republic.”
Listen to the entire interview in the audio recording.
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