Prague: deputy PM mired in scandal
According to a media report, Czech Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček offered to conceal the involvement of Russia's intelligence services in an attack on an ammunition depot in the Czech Republic in exchange for Moscow supplying the country with a million doses of Sputnik V. Hamáček denies the accusation but has not been able to disprove it. Commentators are nonplussed by this latest development in Czech-Russian relations.
All credibility lost
Hospodářské noviny sees the affair as a huge scandal:
“No matter what Hamáček says about the originally planned and then cancelled trip to Moscow, he definitely can no longer be trusted. And it's not just about the trust of us citizens. The deputy prime minister has also robbed his country of its credibility vis-à-vis its international partners. This is about an attempt to cover up a Russian terrorist act in the EU. It's about the betrayal of allies and the Czech Republic moving another step closer to the Kremlin. The accusation of high treason is not exaggerated. ... Hamáček's only option is to resign.”
Fighting for political survival
Casting about for the reasons behind the deputy prime minister's actions, Pravda comes to the following conclusion:
“Hamáček could only have one motive: the political survival of the Czech Social Democrats, of whom he is the leader. Several polls show that his party may not make it back into the Chamber of Deputies in the parliamentary elections in October. ... A million doses of Sputnik V would potentialy secure Hamáček's party a place in a lifeboat on the sinking Titanic. A one to two percent increase in their share of the vote could hoist the Social Democrats back into parliament.”