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Czech Foreign Ministry Summons Russian Ambassador Amid Growing Apartment Scandal

Undiplomatic Quarters: Russia's Secret Prague Apartment Business
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The Czech Foreign Ministry has called in Russia's ambassador for talks, amid a growing scandal over how Russian diplomatic apartments are being rented out in Prague.

The ministry said in a statement on March 21 that Aleksandr Zmeievsky was summoned "to draw serious problems in some properties used by the Embassy of the Russian Federation."

This comes after Czech media reported that the Russian government agency responsible for Russian property outside the country was renting out Prague apartments intended for diplomatic personnel to private citizens under unusual terms.

Current Time reported that the agency was intimidating longtime residents, apparently in a bid to evict.

A day earlier, Russia's Foreign Ministry said the Czech ambassador in Moscow was also called in to discuss the "unhealthy atmosphere surrounding this plot that is being actively injected in the country."

"It was stated to the Czech side the need to show restraint in order to avoid destructive consequences," the ministry said.

One renter, Aleksandr Stepanov, told Current Time that he wasn't allowed to read a Russian-language lease agreement on his own, and instead was told by the landlord he could only take a photograph of it.

Another resident said the cooking gas had been turned off from her unit, and her cat stolen, amid what she called an intimidation campaign.

With reporting by Current Time

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