Czech Deputy PM to meet with Defense Minister about scandalous internal Army survey leak
Czech Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, the chair of the governing ANO movement, wants to meet with his fellow party member Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnický to discuss the findings of an internal Army survey. Babiš announced the plan yesterday on TV Prima's "Partie" program.
Prima broke the news of the survey a week ago. It was commissioned in 2013 by the then-Chief of Staff, Vlastimil Picek, Prima reported.
Military psychologists from the General Staff surveyed 1 615 soldiers from various units. Prima reported that the survey showed some soldiers would support radical political groups and that 5 % of soldiers already attend extremist demonstrations.
Roughly half of the soldiers surveyed would support a political party offering a radical solution to the "Romani question". Every other soldier also reportedly has a colleague or colleagues subjected to collections procedures and 30 % of respondents said they would have a problem if they had to put CZK 5 000 (EUR 185) together at once.
The survey also found 86 % of soldiers are concerned about red tape in the military, while 83 % are concerned about corruption. Six per cent of the soldiers surveyed say they encounter corruption regularly in their own unit and 26 % say they encounter it in the Army as a whole.
One of the most scandalous results of the survey was the finding that among employees of the General Staff, the country considered to pose the "No. 3" threat to the Czech Republic is a NATO ally, the United States of America. As many as 71 % of respondents said they consider refugees to pose the greatest threat of all to the Czech Republic.
Romani people are considered absolutely unacceptable to 75 % of the employees of the General Staff, followed by Afghans, Muslims in general, and Albanians. The religion of Islam is considered a threat by 75 % of respondents - and every eighth employee of the General Staff would welcome the introduction of the death penalty by stoning.
That same proportion of respondents also said they believed punishments such as chopping people's hands off, honor killings, and whipping should be legalized. "I will be asking who performed this survey, under what circumstances, how the questions were formulated, and naturally I will be asking how the General Staff views this," the Defense Minister told Prima.
"According to my knowledge of these people, these answers don't fit," the Defense Minister said. He called it a total failure that the internal material had ever been published.
Babiš said he was surprised by the revelations. He believes Stropnický must address the issue.
"I certainly will speak with him about it because it makes us look bad," he said. The Finance Minister was also taken aback by the fact that soldiers report being plagued by collections procedures, stating that their benefits and remuneration are decent.
Babiš reminded Prima TV viewers that the Government has increased the Army's budget for operating expenses. "We certainly need the Army here and it is not in an ideal state," he said.
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