Prague’s 70,000-strong protest shows what’s in store for Europe — Analysis
The Czechs gathered against NATO and EU during a rising energy crisis.
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. They also protested against the main Western institutions the former Eastern-aligned country is part of: the European Union, and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
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”
Some commentators even have goneThis goes further and suggests that protestors would like to join the Warsaw Pact to bring back the communist era. I have lived in Czech Republic for several years and can tell you that the entire statement is absurd. The majority of Czechs desire to live in the West. Czechs desire a free and open society instead of being held captive by the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic.
Due to the way history is framed in the country, as well, even the most liberal of Czechs can’t help but feel a tinge of resentment against Russia and even Russians. This is due to the fact that the anti-Russian sentiment has been correlated with the Westernization of the country. Czechs are more likely to be influenced by the West if the Czech political system embraces it.
It is unlikely, given these facts that so many people would take time to support the Russian government. On Saturday, 70,000 people took to the streets to support the Russian state. This was due to the rising cost of living, declining real wages and an insistence on a foreign-policy line that will only worsen this problem. This is perfectly rational and doesn’t require conspiracy.
Czech union leaders called instead for a demonstration at the very same place as the Saturday protest to address the exact same issues. Is the prime minister really convinced that Russians infiltrated Czech labor movements? It seems highly unlikely, given Czech society’s hostility towards Russia and Russians.
Again, we are only left with the conclusion – as bizarre as it might sound to the political elite – that the concerns that people addressed reflect exactly how they feel. Life is becoming unaffordable and Czechs don’t want to live a life of destitution and precarity to prop up the Ukrainian government. It is an act of self-preservation, and does not speak to purported. “values”These are your ideals.
What happened in Prague is only a glimpse of what’s to come for Western countries if they continue on the same path – and you can take that to the bank. There are already signs of social unrest all over the continent due to the rising cost of living, especially energy prices, and we haven’t even arrived at the official end of summer yet.
We can consider September 1, just days after the Prague demonstration of 70,000, as the beginning of fall. How will it look in the winter when temperatures drop and heating costs rise? How many people have to take to the streets before the likes of Prime Minister Fiala admit there’s a problem and don’t just pin social unrest on a Russian conspiracy?
We’ve already witnessed the extent to which people won’t sacrifice their self-interest or their convenience for the greater good of others during the COVID-19 epidemic. These ideals were completely useless for rallying Western population, as was the coronavirus. Humans are far too stubborn and individualistic. It seems that the greater good does not justify the lesser.
This being said, do you really believe EU citizens will be willing to live in poverty just for Vladimir Zelensky or his government? This is extremely unlikely. If the current foreign policy is not changed, Europe will face a difficult winter season. Next Prague, London, Berlin and Madrid, then Prague.
These opinions, statements and thoughts are the sole opinion of the author. They do not necessarily reflect those made by RT.