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June 17, 2015

Czech Communist MEP to visit Crimea

Miloslav Ransdorf blames the United States for the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict

Prague, June 17 (ČTK) — Czech MEP Miloslav Ransdorf (Communists, KSČM) is to visit Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in March 2014, daily Lidové noviny (LN) writes today.

It adds that Ransdorf has been invited to Crimea by the Format-a3 international media club over his views of the Ukrainian crisis, for which he blames the United States. The club presents him as “a representative of Czech intellectuals with a penetrating mind.”

Ransdorf confirmed Tuesday to LN that he was planning to go to Crimea to lecture on the European Union. He said he had been invited by the media club during his visit to Tallinn. He is to give his lecture June 18 in Simferopol, Crimea.

The problem is that no one, including the EU, has recognized the annexation of Crimea, and for European politicians it is an extremely sensitive matter to travel there, LN says.

Moreover, Format-a3 is not a mere “discussion platform” as Ransdorf presents it but rather a pro–Russian government promotional agency. It was founded by journalists from the Russian pro-government paper Komsomolskaya Pravda and the state TV channel Rossiya in 2009, LN says.

It is apparent that the organizers in Crimea have chosen Ransdorf as a politician to support the official Russians stance, that is to condemn the U.S. policy, present the EU as a victim of U.S. cunning and call for an alliance with the Kremlin, LN writes.

The media club’s website presents Ransdorf as an opponent of a Euroatlantic partnership.

“The main task and main problem of the United States is not to allow for the strategic partnership of Germany and Russia, or in a broader sense of the EU and Russia. This is exactly why war had to return to Europe. The war in Ukraine,” the website cites Ransdorf as saying.

In another quotation, Ransdorf warns of “American totalitarianism” and calls on Europe to ally itself with Russia and lift the anti-Russian sanctions, LN adds.

The media club also cites Ransdorf as saying that Czechs would vote against EU entry in a referendum, even though 74 percent supported it in 2003. The Czech Republic joined the EU in May 2004.

However, Ransdorf will definitely score the biggest success with his policy of “egalitarianism,” which is popular in Russia and Crimea, LN says.

It writes that Format-a3 operates mainly in the former Soviet republics, where it is defending the interests of Russian-speaking journalists and pointing out the violations of their rights, among other things. Apart from Crimea, it has its branches in Moldova, Latvia and Lithuania.

Most recently, the club invited Russian political scientist Sergei Mikheyev, who supports the aggressive Russian foreign policy, and his Ukrainian colleague Rostislav Ishchenko who fled for Moscow in 2014.

Though it is not officially banned to travel to Crimea, it is part of “good manners” in Europe not to accept the fact that Russia requires visas from visitors to this peninsula, LN adds.

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