For months, the Foreign Office has criticized his own man for spreading pro-Russian views. Former French Ambassador Petr Durlag is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of International Relations. It is established by the Ministry but is otherwise independent. The administration of the institution advocates for academic freedom. “I do not receive letters from the Kremlin. I am interested in Czech interests,” Drulak says.

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Western powers denounced it as an unacceptable aggression against a sovereign nation and began sending arms and other aid to Ukrainians. tried to settle, but Russia has chosen the path of war: after years of solidly built stability, it is bringing war, chaos and suffering to Europe: manipulation of information, disinformation, And the reason for the artificially created aggression is the Russian invasion of Ukraine, ”he declared the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean Lipavsky (Piracy).

But the chief researcher of the institution set up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a fundamentally different opinion. Petr Durlak, in his media comments, wrote that the West bears joint responsibility for the war in Ukraine, even though he did not explicitly rule out Ukraine’s membership in NATO. According to him, Ukraine is actually a battleground between the US and Russia. The same argument is popular in the disinformation scene.

According to Durlak, imposing sanctions on the Putin regime is irrational and will not end the war. He also called Finland and Sweden’s decision to join NATO after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dangerous. Drulak also said Americans played a key role in the overthrow of Ukrainian ruler Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

“The idea that Ukraine can turn things around and come out victorious is pure illusion,” Drlaka was quoted by Prima CNN two weeks ago. Prima CNN, for example, was taken over by the Muladi Espeziaci Association associated with the SPD movement and spread on Facebook. The Ukrainians then launched a counteroffensive, during which Russian soldiers fled the occupied territory, leaving supplies and equipment behind.

Some of Durlak’s statements to the media are consistent with the papers disseminated by Russian propaganda. His interview with Radio Universum was translated and taken directly by the servers of Russian state television RT. “Europe is not a superpower. Its destiny is to become just a museum for tourists from other civilizations,” the caption said.

“Some of his statements remain sane. About two weeks before the February invasion, he said that Ukraine’s non-participation in NATO meant that he wanted to have a country that did not pose a threat to its borders. The idea that Ukraine would threaten Russia is completely absurd. .for a long time.

“By his intellectual provocations, Mr. Durlag is able to greatly derail the public’s direction. I am surprised that I have not heard a harsh critical reaction to his delusions,” the head of the Foreign Relations Committee told the Senate’s Aktuálně.cz Pavel Fischer.

Durlak’s remarks were also strongly criticized by Marek Zenishek (TOP 09), the chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the parliament, who said it was impossible to cooperate with the research institute.

Petr Durlak previously served as Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Lubomir Zaoraluk (ČSSD) and Ambassador to France. He currently works at the Institute of International Relations. The latter is aimed at his research, the results of which lead to an expanded debate on foreign policy. Although the institution’s founder is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is independent from the administration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ministry: Drulak treats facts selectively

According to Aktuálně.cz findings, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been trying in vain for months to ensure that Durlag’s remarks are not linked to the Czernin Palace. According to him, they are damaging the Czech Republic. And this despite the fact that in interviews Durlak allows himself to be referred to as a former ambassador and deputy minister, rather than as an employee of the Institute of International Relations.

“His achievement raises questions about the direction of Czech foreign policy,” Jan Schnaidauf, deputy chairman of the Science Council of the Ministry of Science, told the Institute’s director Ondrej at the beginning of March. I wrote a letter to Dietrich. Aktuálně.cz obtained their correspondence.

According to factual experts, Drulak selectively supports peripheral political currents with aims at odds with Czech foreign policy. He backs up his words by analyzing Drulak’s media output, particularly his statements about Russia. “Rather than good academic work, he devotes himself to politics and, from our point of view, promotes a very keen vision of the world on the political scene,” Schneidoff added.

Šnaidauf also pointed out to the director of the institute that Drulák attended a seminar of the far-right group Akce DOST in February. For example, Jakub Orbert, chairman of the Tricolora Zuzana Majerova and head of the movement, SPD MEP Ivan David, and columnist Petr Zantovsky, have repeatedly accused experts of spreading misinformation. there is

Petr Drulák speaks at a conference demanding to leave the ‘totalitarian EU’. | | Photo:

Drulak also launched a project at the institute and established a collaboration with French far-right politician and Putin supporter Marion Malechalova. We have already finished the project because we have moved away from the concept.

Dorlak: No notes from the Kremlin accepted

Durlak defends the accusation and says it is outrageous. “This is an attempt to intimidate on the part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. What I say is backed up by facts. Interpreting the facts in one way or another is something that everyone does,” Durlak said. told cz. At the same time, he opposes recording Russian propaganda.

Drulák is currently publishing a book, “Superiority from the Right and the Left,” which, according to his description, is spoiled by “prominent figures from Czech and Slovakia.” These include, for example, former Slovak Prime Minister and president of the Slovak-Russian Society Jan Czarnogursky, who has long spread pro-Russian disinformation.

Another contributor is DOST Vice-President Michal Semín, who in 2019 tried to win the ČTK Council on behalf of the SPD.

Institute Director: Multiple Opinions Lead to Better Foreign Policy

At the ministry’s initiative, Drulak was also dealt with by the Institute’s Ethics Committee. Aktuálně.cz has obtained the minutes of the meeting. “The Institute of International Relations is committed to developing the values ​​of an open, pluralistic and democratic society, an integral part of which is an important academic debate. Therefore, foreign policy, and individual opinions, do not necessarily have to follow the government’s planning statement or the foreign policy concept of the Czech Republic,” the five members unanimously said at the end of July. Stated.

According to them, Drulak did not spoil the reputation of the institute. The evaluator only acknowledged that Durlag in the media “deviated from factually accurate behavior in some places.”

Director Ditrich also acknowledges this. “If we want to have an open debate about foreign policy that is in the public interest, in my judgment, we need a place where we have a different voice from the mainstream. An open democratic society, if that is what it calls itself.” It has to be put up with,” said Aktuálně.cz Ditrych.

“At the same time, the voices of the staff of the Institute of International Relations, a well-known public research institution, cannot contain unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, go beyond certain limits of accuracy, are vague and deliberately generalized. You can’t, and this has been clearly communicated to Petr Drlag: For some time now, as a director, I have been strongly criticized for deviating from these rules, ”the director added.

According to him, Durlag has been working part-time indefinitely since he started working as Paris ambassador. In the past, he headed an institute.

The ministry is currently considering the following measures: “The relationship between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Institute of International Relations is currently being worked out intensively. Nor does it question the basic principles and values ​​of Czech foreign policy. I will,” said Lenka Do, spokeswoman for Chernin Palace.

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