Prague, June 20 (CTK) – A group of 12 historians of the Czech Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (USTR) backed the view on Radek Schovanek’s lay-off being linked to him witnessing in the PM Andrej Babis’s allegedly wrong StB registration case in a letter sent to USTR head Zdenek Hazdra on Tuesday.
The group of USTR’s current and former employees backed their colleague Petr Blazek’s earlier view that researcher Radek Schovanek’s lay-off was due to him being a witness in Babis’s alleged StB Communist secret police collaboration case.
USTR’s management rejected the accusation and had called on Blazek to prove his claim, which he allegedly has not done so far.
Blazek announced a possible connection of Schovanek’s 2015 release at a demonstration organised by Million Moments for Democracy on June 5.
USTR conducted a reorganisation in April 2015 within which 20 positions were abolished in its digitation department, while a similar workplace was created in the Archive of the Security Forces. Blazek alleged the change was expedient and to get rid of Schovanek and called it a “big purge.”
“It is misleading to link his [Schovanek’s] release with digitation, because he was never alerted in writing to poor quality of his work. He was dismissed due to redundancy, in spite of the fact that a lady was hired on his position, who sits in the same place as he did, at the same computer and doing the same work,” Blazek told CTK.
Blazek was present at the dismissal talks as the trade union chairman.
“We discussed this with Babis, we alerted the management and Andrej Babis that this was concerning a witness from his trial,” Blazek said.
Blazek added that his stance in the matter has not changed over the past three years.
USTR’s management dismissed the accusation and called Blazek a fanatical activist. According to it, the change in the digitation department was necessary since previous controls revealed a large proportion of errors.
USTR reiterated in its response that Schovanek’s release was in no connection to his testimony at court in the Babis’s case and that he was appreciated for it in writing at the time. USTR added that it gained 14 million crowns into its budget through the reorganisation, but rejected that the extra money from the finance ministry, then led by Babis, would be connected to Schovanek’s release.
USTR called on Blazek to prove his accusation.
USTR spokeswoman Darja Cablova said after the institute’s management meeting on Tuesday that, according to its view, Blazek still failed to prove his allegations cited in the declaration placed on the USTR website and that they were not proven by the open letter, sent by USTR’s mainly former employees, either. Cablova also said they considered the claims false.
She added that another trade unions organisation sent a letter to the USTR head in which it said Blazek damaged the institute’s good name with his misleading and mendacious claims.
Schovanek is a researcher who had criticised USTR’s direction and personnel nominations into its council. With Blazek, he wrote a book describing the first 100 days of the Charter 77 initiative, which was published by Academia in spring.