Deputy minister: Property deals with Russia “need to be cancelled”

Czech Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Dvořák, Photo: Kateřina Cibulka, Czech Radio

The government should this week consider proposals from the Foreign Ministry to terminate treaties allowing Russia free rent of land on which Russian-owned buildings stand in Czechia. The Czech side are also seeking rents paid for the use of such properties. I discussed the matter with Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Dvořák, first asking how Russia came to own dozens of properties in this country.

“To be honest, I don’t know exactly.

“But I think it is because the then Soviet Union misused the situation after the occupation of our country.

“In the 1970s they just declared some properties as their own, or said they were used for diplomatic activities, and the then Czechoslovak government just confirmed that.”

And the issue is here that the Russians own the buildings, but not the land under the buildings?

“Yes. It was a part of the declaration, or the agreement, that the land is still in the ownership of now Czechia, then Czechoslovakia, and the buildings are the property of the Russia Federation.”

It’s reported that Czechia plans to end these deals with Russia on the free rental of land on which the Russian buildings stand, and also that Czechia is seeking to recover rents from these properties. What more can you tell us about the Ministry’s proposals?

“You know, please understand that we are not very happy to share with you or the media our plans how to do the next step.

“But of course we already declared that part of these buildings are not any more accepted as diplomatic missions, which means they lose the protection of the Vienna Convention.

See the rest here.

Author: Ian Willoughby