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December 19, 2014 1:12 pm

Czech Jewish Community Blasts Putin Invitation to Holocaust Events

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

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Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Wiki Commons.

The Czech Jewish community has said that inviting Russian President  Vladimir Putin to participate in Prague’s upcoming Holocaust commemoration events is inappropriate given the “current political situation.”

“The regime Putin established and embodies doesn’t respect international treaties, is aggressive and uses its power to occupy the territory of a neighboring state,” the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic said in a statement, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.

Czech President Milos Zeman invited Putin to a forum on Holocaust history in Prague and Terezin on Jan. 26-27. Representatives of other Allied countries in the Second World War were also extended an invitation in an announcement made on Nov. 18.

While the Moscow government denies involvement in neighboring Ukraine and its ongoing conflict, Zeman has been criticized for his stance on Russia’s active role in Ukraine. He refused to condemn Putin for annexing Crimea in March and would not blame Russia for its role in stirring a separatist rebellion in the former Soviet republic, according to Bloomberg News.

Zelman received backlash from politicians and the media for his refusal to condemn human rights abuse in Russia as well as China. He was targeted by a barrage of eggs and booed by voters during his speech to mark the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution which brought down communism on Nov. 17. As the president took to the stage, the crowd chanted “resign” and “shame on you,” Euronews reported.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced that he will come to Prague for the Holocaust events. The Czech presidential office would not comment on other participants before releasing a full guest list, according to Zeman’s spokesperson, Jiri Ovcacek.

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