In News: Over 70,000 citizens of the Czech Republic gathered at the heart of the nation’s capital Prague in a protest against their government’s failure to control soaring energy prices.
- The protesters also openly voiced their anger against NATO and the European Union.
- The demonstration held is being seen as the largest show of public discontent in recent times against the cost-of-living crisis that has deepened in Europe amid the Russia-Ukraine war.
- The Czech inflation is currently at its highest since 1993, and is expected to touch 20% in the coming months.
- A key contributor to the double-digit inflation crisis is Russia’s decision to cap gas supplies to Europe, which has sent energy costs through the roof.
Russia-Ukraine war, and why Prague matters
- Czech Republic is a member of both the European Union and NATO.
- It has been one of the most strident supporters of Ukraine since the war began.
- It currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, and therefore is more diplomatically noticeable in the bloc’s efforts to project unity in the time of war.
- Till mid-August, around 4,13,000 refugees – nearly 4% of the country’s population — had been registered in the Czech Republic.
- The opposition to Russian aggression also comes from the historical reference point of the Prague Spring of 1968 when Soviet tanks rolled into then-Czechoslovakia to crush an uprising demanding a rapid transition to democracy.
Source: Indian Express