Final Word from Wednesday, July 23, 2014

When it comes to imposing sanctions on Russians, Czechs want to have their cake and eat it too. They want to be seen as being good EU and transatlantic citizens, but they prefer not to disrupt any business relationships. It's an understandable attitude, given the circumstances and the geography, but a spade needs to be called a spade. The new U.S. ambassador-designate, Andrew Schapiro, said in his Senate hearing in May that "the Czech Republic has quickly and faithfully implemented the targeted sanctions and asset freezes that have been imposed on Russia," and the Czech finance ministry does indeed have a page devoted to the sanctions. Yet as hard as we tried, we could not get either the U.S. embassy or the finance ministry to name a single Russian individual or company active in the CR that has been subjected to sanctions or asset freezes. One official told us, in fact, that no such entity exists here. [Czech Republic United States of American Ukraine Crimea]

Glossary of difficult words

to have your cake and to eat it too - to enjoy both of two desirable but mutually exclusive alternatives;

to call a spade a spade - to speak plainly without avoiding unpleasant or embarrassing issues.


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