The Czech Republic’s Russian assassin scandal reeks of the Skripal conspiracy

A Czech magazine's scandalous claim that two of the capital's politicians are being guarded by police in order to protect them from a reportedly imminent assassination attempt by a Russian spy reeks of the Skripal conspiracy when Moscow where accused of unsuccessfully trying to kill a former double agent, though this time the alleged justification is that one of the supposed targets renamed the square outside the Russian Embassy to honor a slain Russian opposition member while the other ordered the tearing down of a Soviet-era statue to World War II hero Ivan Konev.

Recycling The Skripal Conspiracy

The Czech Republic usually evokes images of Prague’s old town or the Old Cold War-era state of Czechoslovakia whenever people hear that country’s name, but an intense infowar effort is presently underway to ensure that they think of the West’s New Cold War with Russia instead. A local magazine scandalously claimed that two of the capital’s politicians are being guarded by police in order to protect them from a reportedly imminent assassination attempt by a Russian spy, who they say wants to kill them because one of the supposed victims renamed the squareoutside the Russian Embassy to honor slain Russian opposition member Boris Nemtsov while the other ordered the tearing down of a Soviet-era statue to World War II hero Ivan Konev who liberated the Czech capital. This accusation reeks of the conspiracy over two years ago that tried to pin the failed poisoning of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal squarely on President Putin’s shoulders, except this time the alleged justification is comparatively more benign and therefore even more unbelievable.

Incredulous Claims

Russia denied any involvement in the Skripal conspiracy, with its leader ultimately concluding last summer that he’s unsure who was responsible and personally dismissing the widespread speculation that the British secret services were to blame. Similarly, the country also denied any involvement in the current Czech conspiracy too. The Russian Embassy recently released a statement saying that “It is obvious that this article is part of the information campaign launched in the Czech Republic to discredit Russia and impose a hostile image of it on the Czech people.” Considering how ridiculous it would be for Russia to attempt to assassinate two outspoken Prague politicians whose anti-Russian provocations earlier this year drew international attention, especially by trying to poison them a little more than two years after being accused of unsuccessfully utilizing the same method against Sergei Skripal, no credence should be given to these absurd accusations. Rather, attention should be paid to their possible origins and brainstorming who stands to benefit the most from these reports.

“Deep State” Divisions

The Alt-Media Community might instinctively suspect America of some degree of complicity in this latest anti-Russian infowar campaign, which is understandable considering its long-standing geopolitical hostility to the Eurasian Great Power, but the situation might not be as simple as that. To explain, these two rivals have recently made some impressive progress on their hoped-for “New Detente” following Russia’s urgent dispatch of counter-COVID aid to America and their joint efforts towards reviving OPEC+. It therefore follows that the American foreign policy elite is divided two Kissingerian factions: the Russian-friendly, anti-Chinese one represented by Trump and populist Republicans (crucially, not all Republicans though), and the Chinese-friendly, anti-Russian one led by his Democrat foes. The US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) tend to support the Democrats though some members sympathize with Trump, which is why it’s misleading to make generalizations about who’s responsible for the country’s foreign policy.

The World War C Game-Changer

Just like the Democrat-aligned “deep state” might have been behind the Skripal false flag assassination attempt in order to undermine the “New Detente”, so too might they be responsible for the latest Czech scandal for the same reason. Of course, this is admittedly speculative, but it’s consistent with the fact that they’ve been working against Trump since before he even won the presidency, ergo the Russiagate conspiracy and its Ukrainegate follow-up. The Skripal scandal might have been driven by the desire to drive a wedge between the US and its top European allies over the “New Detente”, though the focus seems to have now shifted to doing the same between the US and its minor European ones after World War C changed the geostrategic chessboard in Trump’s favor after he successfully turned some of the major European countries against China. This gives the American President the opportunity to present Russia as the so-called “lesser evil” and therefore promote the “New Detente” like never before.

“Useful Idiots”

The challenge, however, will be in getting the Central & Eastern European countries of the Polish-led “Three Seas Initiative” to go along with this considering their historical suspicion towards Russia. This predictable difficulty creates an opening for the anti-Trump faction of the “deep state” to exploit, though they’d need to take advantage of the most “realistic” scenario possible in order for their planned provocations to stand any chance at being “credible”. Therein lies the significance of the two Prague politicians’ anti-Russian moves earlier this year, which might have even been “encouraged” by the aforesaid “deep state” faction in order to create what they believed would be the most “believable” pretext for their latest infowar campaign. That’s not to suggest that these politicians are “in on it”, but rather, that they may have likely functioned as “useful idiots”, whether on their own prerogative or after having been “encouraged” to make the moves that they did in exchange for whatever carrot was dangled before them (speculatively, “positive” publicity and/or funds).

The “Perfect” Pretext?

However it came into being, the end result of those politicians’ decisions is that the anti-Russian “faction” of the American “deep state” had the pretext that they needed to recycle the Skripal conspiracy by claiming that President Putin once again dispatched an assassin to poison people who offended his country’s dignity. This weaponized narrative was already ridiculous enough the first time that it was propagated, but it’s even more outlandish now that the reported motivation is that the alleged targets renamed the square outside the Russian Embassy to honor slain Russian opposition member Nemtsov and removed a Soviet-era World War II statue to the liberator of Prague. Whether one supports these politicians’ moves or not, they should nevertheless acknowledge how incredulous it is to claim that Russia would try to poison them in response a little more than two years after being accused of unsuccessfully attempting the same type of assassination against the Skripals.

Concluding Thoughts

The significance of this infowar provocation rests not in how believable it is, but in the very fact that it can be relied upon as a “plausible” excuse for the Central & Eastern European governments to oppose Trump’s planned “New Detente”. This doesn’t of course mean that it’ll succeed with its speculative geostrategic objective, nor that a country as small as the Czech Republic could even make much of a difference in stopping this process if the larger European countries are on board with it, but just to explain what the author believes to be the real reason behind the latest accusations. Perception management is an underappreciated aspect of geostrategy, and that’s what everything that was analyzed is about: reviving the region’s historical suspicions of Russia (specifically those related to the end of World War II and the Old Cold War) so that their leaders can rely upon them as the “justification” for opposing the “New Detente”. Considering the likelihood that this latest infowar operation will probably fail, however, it can’t be discounted that more copycat claims might soon follow.

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Andrew Korybko

Andrew Korybko is a Moscow-based American political analyst. He specializes in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China's Belt & Road Initiative, and Hybrid Warfare. His other areas of focus include South Asian affairs and the US' recent restoration of hegemonic influence in Latin America.

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