Former senior representative of the Czech army and NATO, Petr Pavel, officially confirmed his candidacy for president of the republic on Tuesday and presented his election slogan “Let’s return order and peace to the Czech Republic”. He wants to be a president who moderates passions. However, the shadow of the candidacy of former general Petr Pavel is his communist past and the fact that he was being prepared by military intelligence for landing abroad. However, Pavel does not yet have a sufficient number of signatures that would allow him to officially submit his candidacy.
There is strong criticism of Petr Pavel, which is mainly related to his communist past (we wrote about it here). Pavel was not just an ordinary member of the Communist Party, he was the chairman of a local organization, in addition he studied at the Intelligence Institute under military intelligence, so that he could be sent abroad, either as an agent or as a paratrooper, both of which would mean harm behind the Iron Curtain.
The Seznam Zprávy server reported that his wife Hana should have known about the possibility of landing abroad. In October 1989, there was an interview between two lieutenant colonels, Milan Kandra and Ján Sovjak, which took place in the incriminated third semester of study. “In the course of the interview, issues of security and conspiracy were considered. No negative findings were found. Comrade Pavlová only knew that her husband works in Prague as a translator, interpreter,” the note states, adding that this “legend” circulates in the entire family and does not attract any attention. According to the record, the wife was told that her husband was preparing for a new job, but it was said that it was necessary for her to continue to preserve the mentioned legend for those around her. “At the same time, she was informed that her husband may also work abroad in the future,” the minutes also state, adding that Hana Pavlová was also encouraged to devote herself to the study of foreign languages.
Until now, Pavlo’s fans had a counterargument that the general’s past was washed away by his multi-track career, and in it, above all, three years as chairman of the NATO military committee. However, this counter-argument was fundamentally challenged by an article in Hospodářské noviny pointing out that no NATO, no allies had checked the Czech officer themselves, that the check was based on the opinion of our NBU. Pavel subsequently argued that there had been an unofficial lustration. A statement by another delegate to the allied structures, former Deputy Secretary General of NATO Jiří Šedivý, appeared on Pavlo’s Facebook page. “General Pavel’s past, including the communist one, was undoubtedly investigated by the relevant intelligence services at least in the key countries of the Alliance before his election to the post - US, Britain, France, Poland, Germany…” Šedivý allegedly said.
“How would the Americans or, for example, the British, choose someone who will be familiar with the most secret information in NATO, including nuclear weapons, without thoroughly vetting him and relying only on national authorities?” added Pavel himself. .
Pavel manipulates, says the historian
According to historian Petr Blažek, Paul’s statements contain a number of manipulations and false information (we wrote here). According to Blažek, the vast majority of Pavlov’s opponents do not claim anything about a connection with military counterintelligence. “They say that they are bothered by his service for communist intelligence, when he conspiratorially studied a course for intelligence officers and was the chairman of the ZO KSČ here,” explains Blažek on his Facebook profile.
“Pavel uses classic manipulation to cover up his involvement in the Communist Party and military intelligence. He claims that military intelligence was not used against opponents of the regime, which is as absurd as if someone were to claim that the army was not a repressive support of the regime because it only intervened against the protesters on August 21, 1969. First he creates a statement, then he puts it in the opponent’s mouth, and finally it refutes him,” Blažek said, adding that it is a classic manipulation technique.
At the same time, Pavel writes that he never used a pseudonym. “I have never worked under any cover (as a spy), I have never used a cover name and I have never worked against my own citizens. Even if I were chosen as one of the few graduates for the hidden part, the content of my work would never be to collect information about my own citizens,” Pavel claims.
However, according to Blažek, this statement is also false. “In one of the surviving archival documents, it is clearly stated that as a member of the Intelligence Service of the General Staff, he had the code name Pávek. Whether he actually used it is hard to prove, but he undoubtedly knew about it. He was not a co-worker, but a regular employee. It’s another classic manipulative procedure, which I would describe as fogging,” said Blažek.
Pavel wants to tour the republic
Pavel identified an active foreign policy, an innovative economy with higher added value, independent energy, education and a healthy environment as the priorities of his campaign. Pavel, who is among the favorites in the elections, said this at the start of his election campaign in Prague on Tuesday.
In the coming months, Pavel wants to start touring the Czech Republic, collecting voters’ signatures and asking them for campaign contributions. On Wednesday, the campaign will continue in the Ústí Region, and it plans to cover all regions by the end of autumn. He wants to run as an independent, so he needs to get at least 50,000 signatures, but he doesn’t have the signatures yet. In a press release, he stated that he has collected roughly half. So far, he has received about 10.5 million crowns from supporters and sponsors on a transparent account.
In the campaign, he plans to rely on his experience in foreign diplomacy and military leadership. According to him, difficult times call for a leader who listens to different opinions and leads people to a compromise. In his speech on Tuesday, he criticized the current political culture, which he would like to change. At the Castle, he would also pay attention to moral and ethical aspects. According to him, people have become accustomed to evaluating politicians according to too low a bar. “It cannot be enough for us that someone steals and lies less than others,” he said.
According to public opinion polls and bookmakers, together with the chairman of the ANO movement, Andrej Babiš, Pavel is the favorite in the elections. It is not yet certain whether former Prime Minister Babiš will join them. He wants to announce his decision probably at the end of October. Other confirmed participants in the elections include, among others, the chairman of trade unions Josef Středula, former rector Danuše Nerudová, senator Marek Hilšer and businessman Karel Janeček.