Prague, May 8 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman named six new generals on the occasion of Victory Day, including head of anti-drug centre Jakub Frydrych and regional firefighters from Pardubice, east Bohemia, Miroslav Kvasnicka, and four army generals.
However, Zeman did not promote Michal Koudelka, director of the Security Information Service (BIS) and deputy ground forces commander Petr Prochazka, although the government proposed them to the rank.
Prime Minister Andrej Babis said the names proposed by the government to Zeman for appointment as generals had not been discussed in advance.
He said he could not rule it out that the government would propose again the promotion of Koudelka and Prochazka.
“Perhaps some habits were not observed, this was not discussed beforehand,” Babis replied to the question of why Zeman had not appointed the two proposed generals.
“In October, there will be another date. I think we will return to this,” he added.
On Monday, the server Aktualne.cz wrote that Zeman’s decision was related to the BIS report on the possible production of Novichok, its role in the recent expulsion of three Russian agents from the country and his dissatisfaction with its work in general.
Russia recently claimed that the Novichok nerve agent that was used to poison former double agent Sergei Skripal in Britain might come from the Czech Republic. Most Czech politicians dismissed Russia’s allegation and labelled it an attempt to divert attention from itself. However, Zeman ordered Czech secret services to check whether Novichok was produced or stored in the country. Last week, he said he preferred the VZ military intelligence’s report to that of the BIS and said Novichok was produced in the country, though in small amounts.
But Koudelka and VZ chief Jan Beroun said no Novichok has been produced in the country as micro-synthesis for testing in labs was something different.
Frydrych has been working with the National Anti-Drug Centre since 2000. He has been heading it since 2009 .
Zeman promoted to the rank of major general Jaromir Alan, the director of the Defence Ministry planning capabilities department, and Ivo Strecha, the director of the Defence Ministry development section.
Zeman also named as brigadier general Miroslav Hlavac, the deputy director of the department of the Defence Ministry forces development and Military Police deputy commander Pavel Chovancik.
Zeman said in his speech he had noticed a general who felt the inexorable need to speak about the Czech Republic’s foreign policy.
He did not mention his name.
Zeman said foreign policy was an affair of the government, the foreign minister and the president.
“There has been a number of generals involved in politics, but none of them ended well,” he added.
The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Interior Minister Lubomir Metnar, Defence Minister Karla Slechtova, the Chamber of Deputies chairman Radek Vondracek and Prague Archbishop Cardinal Dominik Duka.
Alan worked in a number of command and staff posts in the anti-aircraft force and took part in one foreign operation.
Strecha held command and staff posts in the tank and mechanised forces and took part in three foreign missions.
Both Alan and Strecha worked in NATO structures and had training at U.S. defence academies.
Hlavac held command and staff posts in the artillery force, including the rapid response brigade and took part in five foreign missions. He is a graduate from the Royal College of Defence Studies in Britain.
Chovancik held command and staff posts in the communications force and the military police and took part in two foreign missions.