Accessibility links

Breaking News

A Sleepy President For A Sleepy Central European Nation?

You're getting sleepy...
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg falls asleep at public events so often that an energy drink, Kamikaze, attempted (but failed) to use a photo of him snoring away at a political debate in one of its ads with the slogan, "Stay On Your Feet Longer."

He was also famously caught by photographers napping during a security forum in Belgrade back in September.

And now a video is making the rounds of the 75-year-old Schwarzenberg repeatedly nodding off during a speech to the lower house of parliament on June 5 by Czech deputy David Rath. Rath is accused of accepting a 7 million crown ($338,000) bribe.

In the clip, Schwarzenberg's head slowly dips forward to the table, and then he all but disappears frame left as he nods off again. All the while, Rath speaks, oblivious to the comedy show behind him.

Is corruption so commonplace in the Czech Republic (it ranked 57th out of 183 countries on Transparency International's annual index) that the foreign minister can't even be bothered to keep his eyes open during a key address? (One agency is even giving "corruption tours" of Prague to tourists.)

And to cap it all off, Schwarzenberg is being pegged to run for Czech president in an election set for 2013.

Good thing the presidency isn't filled with boring dinner parties, droning speeches, and yawn-inducing awards ceremonies.

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

Latest Posts