Disinfo: Absurd accusations of the Czechs against Russia serve to cover the fail of its counterintelligence

Summary

The Czech Republic uses the scandal with Russia to cover up the shame of its counterintelligence service, the BIS. The BIS claims an employee of the Russian embassy anonymously contacted BIS, saying that a Russian diplomat was carrying ricin in his briefcase in order to poison the mayor of Prague, in revenge for demolishing the monument to Konev. This version is unproven and created solely to get out of a hopeless situation with the least loss for the reputation of the Czech Republic. The expulsion of Russian diplomatic staff does not follow the internal agenda of Prague; relations with Moscow are deliberately spoiled by a certain part of the Czech elite.

Disproof

In late April, Respekt, a Czech weekly, reported that a suspected Russian intelligence officer travelling on a diplomatic passport had arrived in Prague carrying the lethal toxin ricin in his luggage in order to poison Czech municipal civil servants, including the mayor of Prague. The investigation was ongoing. Speaking to journalists on June 5 in Prague, Mr. Babis, the Czech prime minister, said that an unnamed Russian embassy staff member had fabricated the ricin story and passed it on to the Czech intelligence service, BIS, which spent weeks investigating the alleged plot. Two Russian diplomats were expelled by Prague as a result of the investigation. Russian officials did not challenge the Czech PM's information that a Russian diplomat, and not somebody in the Czech Republic, produced this "fake news" about the ricin incident. Taking into account that Russia had just opened a criminal investigation into the removal of the Marshal Konev statue in Prague, which was accompanied by an aggressive disinformation campaign in Russian media against local Prague authorities, this allegation was naturally taken seriously by Czech security services and the police. As a precaution, three city officials were placed in protective police custody. The article provides no evidence to support the conspiracy theory that Prague invented the story about the ricin investigation. See more disinformation cases on the removal of the Soviet Marshal Konev statue in Prague.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 203
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Czech Republic, Russia
  • Keywords: Konev, Diplomacy with Russia, Anti-Russian, Monuments

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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Disproof

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Disproof

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Disproof

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