Czech President Petr Pavel compared the Russians in Europe with the Japanese population in the United States during World War II and called on Western intelligence agencies to keep a close eye on them. He stated this in an interview with Radio Liberty:
“I believe that, as in the case of a number of world conflicts in the past, during the ongoing war, security measures for Russian citizens should be stricter than in normal times. So all Russian citizens living in Western countries need to be monitored much more closely than before. Because they are citizens of a nation waging a war of aggression. I may feel sorry for these people, but at the same time, if we look back at the time when World War II began, then the entire Japanese population living in the United States was also under a strict surveillance regime. It's just the price of war."
During World War II, the US authorities forcibly moved at least 125,000 Japanese, more than half of whom were American citizens, to concentration camps called "military displacement centers." In 1948, Japanese internees were paid partial compensation for their loss of property, but most were never able to make full restitution. In the late 1980s, the American authorities issued an official apology to the victims of repression.
Speaking about the leaders of the Russian opposition, Pyotr Pavel noted that “listening to these people is extremely important, because they have a deep inner knowledge of Russia, and they can tell us this, because not many people really understand how the Russians think.”
“But at the same time, we must look for other personalities that will emerge over time. And then, when the war ends and relations with Russia begin to normalize, we should probably provide an opportunity for those people who will be capable and brave enough to speak out: invite them to various conferences, let them speak at our universities, so that we understand the meaning of the actions of the Russians. Because only when we understand how they think can we come up with good measures and good proposals that will work,” he said.
Petr Pavel also recalled the story of a Ukrainian refugee who was bullied by Czech children. A video of bullying was posted on the network by the mother of a girl who came to the Czech Republic from Korosten. When the children at school asked if the girl was Russian, she answered that she was Ukrainian. Then the schoolchildren said that Russia is “better” and “stronger”. Polina said to this that “Russia. - shit, ”for which they spat in her face.
The President of the Czech Republic met with the girl and expressed his words of support. “I just felt it was right because I got angry when I found out what happened. And since we were just organizing Children's Day at Grad, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to invite her, let her enjoy hospitality and friendship, ”he said in an interview with Radio Liberty.
Speaking about the general fatigue of solidarity towards Ukrainian refugees, he explained that this is a natural phenomenon:
“It just comes with time. What we can do in this regard is to repeat for people the real picture of what is happening there, and not let people think that the war is over or no longer affects us Czechs or the people living in Ukraine.”