Protesters prepare to hand over inflatable dolls with masks of Russian President Putin and Czech President Zeman to Prague's Russian embassy. Photo: Petr Dauš'
A group of protesters chained themselves to the Russian embassy in Prague and handed over green inflatable dolls wearing masks of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Czech President Miloš Zeman to the Russian embassy in Prague.
Naming this a “symbolic return of its little green men to Russia,” the group, calling themselves oMen (not to be confused with FEMEN), in an official statement said that “there have been enough of these men operating in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe, both in uniform and in civilian clothes.”
“It was time to give Russia its green men back, be it the anonymous ones or the prominent ones, such as Miloš Zeman,” the protesters said.
With “weapons for Ukraine” and “No SWIFT for Russia,” they sent a doll with female breasts and a mask of Putin into the yard of the embassy, to be stopped by the police immediately afterwards. They carried signs demanding to free Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, pilot Nadiya Savchenko, and Crimean Tatar leader Akhtem Chiygoz, who are unjustly imprisoned and prosecuted in Russia. They are but three of 25 Ukrainian political prisoners jailed in the Russian Federation.
For the Czech activists, Russia’s meddling in Ukraine is part of a chain of events in Ukraine. Here is their full statement:
“Members of the oMen group decided to give back to Putin what belonged to him. The ‘little green men’ who stealthily occupy territories then claim that these territories have always belonged to the Inferno. They came to Ukraine, not in uniform at first; they first wore the face of Viktor Yanukovych who then opened the doors for the green ones who occupied Crimea and Donbas to those who have killed thousands of Ukrainians and dragged many others back with them. They came to Syria, not in uniform at first, but wearing the face of Bashar al-Assad who didn’t settle for hundreds of thousands of dead; he also opened the door to cluster bombs that Putin’s green men drop on civilians. They came to us and the faces of their ambassadors are well known and their methods well tried and tested. Miloš Zeman uses them with just as much virtuosity as they are used by those he is allied with.
They are creeping across all of Europe; for the time being, they wear suits and, instead of sinking of boats, they use propaganda and espionage, money and servants who help them destroy democracy and freedom. Yet we don’t want them here; we are returning the green men back. It is not possible to overlook the dangers and ignore the crimes committed by Putin. It is not possible to forget the thousands of dead Chechnyans and Georgians, the theft of Crimea and the thousands of dead Ukrainians; it is not possible to ignore the war crimes committed in Syria. It isn’t possible to ignore the despotism exercised against the political prisoners in Russia, be they committed against Russian citizens or against abducted foreigners, such as Nadezhda Savchenko and Oleg Sentscov. Hundreds of thousands of dead, with some – like Nemtsov or Litvinenko – known by their name, but others just grey dead faces on photographs documenting the crimes of Putin, Kadyrov and al-Assad. Putin, take your little green men back, stop waging wars and occupying territories, supporting other dictators and oppressing your own nation.
Putin, take your little green men back, stop waging wars and occupying territories, supporting dictators and oppressing your own nation.”
Pro-Russian policies of Miloš Zeman have triggered discontent in the Czech republic, bringing thousands to the streets at the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. Zeman had given media interviews saying that “there is simply a civil war in Ukraine” and calling Western sanctions on Russia a no-win strategy. “Little green men” aka “polite people” is an euphemism used by Vladimir Putin to refer to the unmarked Russian troops that occupied the Crimean peninsula in March 2014 and are present in Donbas today. A monument to the invading troops has been opened in Russia’s Far-East city of Belogorsk.