Czech President Zeman and Russian President Putin Walk Away from Meeting in Lockstep

Sochi/Moscow, Nov 21 (CTK special correspondent) – Russian President Vladimir Putin called the talks with his Czech counterpart Milos Zeman open and comprehensive and appreciated the positive development mainly in bilateral economic and trade relations at a press conference after their meeting today.


Both countries’ economic relations overcame the several-year period of decline this year, Putin indicated.


Zeman also concluded that despite the anti-Russian sanctions, which he had long opposed, bilateral cooperation was developing successfully.


Both presidents debated cooperation in the energy sector, including nuclear energy, and in industry, primarily automotive, Putin said.


Their talks also touched upon humanitarian cooperation. Putin expressed gratitude for the preservation of the graves of Soviet soldiers who died during the liberation of the Czechoslovak territory at the end of WWII.


Putin got Zeman acquainted with the Russian view of the solution to the Ukrainian crisis. They agreed that relations between the EU and Russian must be “normalised,” Putin said.


During their meeting, Zeman informed Putin about contracts worth some 20 billion crowns to be signed during the “grand” mission of Czech businesspeople to Russia. Representatives of some 120 Czech firms accompany him in Russia.


Zeman reiterated his opposition to the practice of international sanctions, including the Russian retaliatory sanctions against the EU.


Zeman expressed hope that Russian archives would be opened to Czech researchers, which might help clarify some aspects of the joint history.


He also said he would decorate several Russian war veterans during his visit. In this connection, Zeman warned against distorting history which some people tended to do, he said.


The meeting with Putin in his “Bocharov Ruchei” presidential summer residence in Sochi launched the official programme of Zeman’s five-day visit to Russia.


During the meeting, Putin gave Zeman a valuable original document, “the Restored land order” from the 17th century.


“This is the only complete Restored land order from 1627. There is another copy in the Strahov monastery (in Prague), but six pages are missing in it,” Zeman’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek tweeted, saying it is an extraordinary gift.

The Restored land order is the land constitution of Bohemia and later Moravia, which the Habsburg emperors, who were ruling the Czech Lands until 1918, issued in German after the suppression of the uprising of the Protestant estates and the installment of absolutism instead of the previous estates regime during The Thirty Years’ War.

A source from the Czech Presidential Office told CTK that Putin and Zeman talked about one hour.


Putin said the Russian side is interested in taking part in the competition for the construction of new units in Czech nuclear power plants and in nuclear fuel deliveries, the source said.


A large part of the talks concerned the situation in Syria and Ukraine. Putin talked about Syrian President Bashar Assad visiting Russia on Monday and about his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani planned for Wednesday.


Putin presented his view of the solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the source said.


Putin and Zeman did not talk about the forthcoming presidential elections in the Czech Republic and Russia. Zeman and Putin are favourites of the direct election. Putin is yet to officially announce his candidacy.