Czech Republic: all clear for Sputnik now?

Under massive pressure from President Miloš Zeman, the former Czech Health Minister Jan Blatný was replaced by Petr Arenberger on Wednesday after only five months in office. Blatný had blocked the clinical testing and introduction of Sputnik V in the Czech Republic, which Zeman vehemently supports. Commentators are emphatically unimpressed by Zeman's - and Russia's - show of force.

Open/close all quotes
Aktuálně.cz (CZ) /

An unworthy spectacle

Aktuálně.cz roundly criticises the actions of President Zeman and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš:

“Arenberger's appointment turned into a farce for promoting Russian and Chinese interests. Zeman once again criticised the former minister for saying no to Sputnik. Anyone who acts in this way, he said, harms the Czech Republic and bears responsibility for those who die because of the lack of vaccines. And Prime Minister Andrej Babiš stands before the tsar like a primitive Russian peasant and doesn't say a word. What a revolting, scandalous Russian spectacle. ... Babiš loses out by obeying Zeman and calling Blatný back on Zeman's orders. The people chose Babiš as their sovereign, as an idol. But he is letting his power be curtailed by an angry president.” (SK) /

Russia's weapon hurting former satellites points out that Sputnik has already caused trouble to Slovakia's government:

“Regardless of how the battle over Sputnik ends in the Czech Republic: Moscow's oh-so-selfless offer to provide a vaccine has now led to the dismissal of the health minister of another Central European state, following the crisis in Slovakia. Although it is not yet clear how effective Sputnik V is against the Covid-19 virus, the Russians could at least patent it as a hybrid weapon that successfully destabilises former Kremlin satellites. And that's what they've always wanted.”