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Politician Jana Volfova appears in a European Parliament campaign advertisement for the nationalist Czech Sovereignty party.
Decapitation. Group sex. Defenestrations.

Frankly, it all sounds like just another night of Danish cinema at Cannes.

So don't let Denmark's "get-out-the-vote" flap over the "Voteman" video discourage you ahead of this month's European elections.

If you're going to hang your head over these elections to fill the European Parliament's 751 seats, let it be because of spots like this one:

WATCH: Euro-Election Campaign Ad For Czech Sovereignty


Candidate Jana Volfova and her nonparliamentary Czech Sovereignty party went completely Kabuki, donning a chador to rail against Muslims and to "defend Euro-Christian civilization."

"Do you really want to have to bow to Allah five times a day?" an announcer asks as a tiny black figure in full fundamentalist Islamic garb emerges from an EU-colored shell game.

"Do you want your daughter or granddaughter to be forced to walk around covered up, for her to be stoned [to death] if she gives her boyfriend a kiss on the street?" Volfova asks from behind a black chador, before assigning the European Commission with responsibility for determining immigration policies. (Never mind that she's campaigning for the European Parliament.)

"We reject the Islamization of Europe," Volfova goes on to say.

"Don't let your own country be stolen, and come defend Euro-Christian civilization," the announcer sums up.

Czech Sovereignty is sufficiently "euroskeptical" for local media to have speculated that it might provide a platform for the post-presidential return to "high politics" of former President Vaclav Klaus.

Chairwoman Jana Bobosikova and her Czech Sovereignty party purport to be engaged in the business of "protecting Czech national interests." Ironically, Bobosikova owes a debt to her supranational foe. She used European elections in 2004 to resuscitate a seemingly moribund domestic political career. She also happens to be an unrepentant former poster child for hated socialist-era Czechoslovak leader Gustav Husak.

Despite their deservedly secular reputation, Czechs have been thrust reluctantly into discussions of two of this century's most disturbing perversions of Islam: 9/11, after which Czech officials (including now-President Milos Zeman) claimed (erroneously) that Al-Qaeda hijacker Mohammed Atta had contacted an Iraqi agent in Prague; and the Tsarnaev brothers' suspected bombing in April 2013 of the Boston Marathon, after which CNN and other media outlets confused the Czech Republic with Chechnya.

But in fact, Czechs' room has been extremely limited for direct contact with Islam -- much less Islamism or other extreme interpretations of the religion. Muslims are estimated to compose less than 0.1 percent of the Czech population of around 10 million, prompting the weekly "Tyden" last year to rank it among Europe's "non-Islamic islands."

Then again, another Czech party with a chance of reaching the European Parliament is the Dawn of Direct Democracy of Tomio Okamura. That movement is at once run by a Czech-Japanese-Korean entrepreneur who is a senior member of the Association of Czech Travel Agencies, and at the same time campaigning on a platform that would curb immigration.

In a country where the absence of that towering figure of 20th-century humanism, Vaclav Havel, is still felt, it is all enough to have convinced the Czech weekly "Respekt" that some of the campaigning for these European elections "has exceeded even the normal scope of Czech political marketing."

-- Andy Heil
The Cold War-era produced some of ice hockey's most spectacular memories. The latest U.S.-Russia match wasn't one of them.

After Russia dominated Team U.S.A. at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships this week (May 12), Moscow could be expected to relish the moment. The 6-1 thrashing -- handed down in front of a raucous pro-Russia crowd at Belarus's Minsk Arena -- was payback for the embarrassing loss suffered to the U.S. on home ice during the Sochi Olympics.

But while Team Russia quickly moved on, Russian media chose to rub it in by inventing a controversy by publishing -- as if it were real -- a fake news story citing a real U.S. official.

After the preliminary-round game, various mainstream media outlets reported that Washington had bitterly protested the loss:

Sports.ru:

"State Department: U.S.A. Disagrees With Results Of Hockey Match..."

Nabat.in:

"State Department: U.S.A. Disagrees With Results Of Hockey Match And Talks Sanctions..."

Komsomolskaya pravda:

"Russia Will Pay Dearly For Its Hockey Team's Imperial Ambitions!"

Vzglyad:

"Dirty Puck Carousel"

The articles -- and many others published in mainstream and also social media -- center on bitter quotes directly attributed to State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki after the hockey loss.

Many of the quotes mirror comments made by U.S. officials and Psaki herself amid rising tensions between Washington and Moscow over the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

There is this reference to various suggestions by Washington that Russia cannot intervene in a neighboring country in this day and era:

"This game had nothing to do with real hockey," Psaki is quoted as saying at a press briefing. "In the 21st century we cannot play hockey as if it is the 20th."

Another "Psaki comment" draws on an actual statement the spokeswoman made during a May 12 press briefing in which she condemned the disputed referendum in eastern Ukraine, saying "its methodology was highly suspect with reports of carousel voting," among other things.

"The imperial ambitions of the Russian national team displayed during the game demonstrate the same methods seen in the worst years of the Soviet Union -- a dirty puck carousel set up by the Russian team in front of the U.S. net, and democratic pucks blocked from their own net -- and are an attempt to reverse the status quo and are a threat to European security."

When asked by a reporter what "a puck carousel" was, "Psaki" replied that she did not know what a carousel was, but that it was written in the text and that it was something terrible and incompatible with human values.

The alleged response was similar to Psaki's actual response during her May 12 briefing in which she was asked what "carousel voting" was. Her reply -- that she was unfamiliar with the term and would "check and see what our team meant specifically by that term" -- was ridiculed in the Russian media.

In yet another allusion to comments made in Washington, Psaki was quoted as saying that U.S. President Barack Obama had expressed his concern about the hockey game's result:

"Russia is not only on the wrong side of history, but on the wrong side of geography, physics, and physical education."

And finally, "Psaki" blasted Russian hockey star Alexander Ovechkin for shaving his beard ahead of the World Championships in an alleged protest against Austrian transvestite Conchita Wurst's recent Eurovision victory.

"It is a protest against European values, against free Europe! In the 21st century you cannot just pick up and shave your beard if you don't like something! This is unacceptable. The beard should return immediately!"

This LiveLeak link provides a rough English-language translation of Psaki's "statement."

What stands out is that while "Vzglyad" and "Komsomolskaya pravda" described "Dirty Puck Carousel" as a parody, others were not nearly so forthcoming. Sports.ru and nabat.in simply published Psaki's "quotes" as fact with no mention that they might be satirical.

The State Department and Psaki did not respond to written requests for comment on the quotes being attributed to Obama and the State Department spokeswoman.

But for the record, Psaki never said anything about the U.S.-Russia result in the daily press briefing she held the day after the match .

The closest thing to any official U.S. comment on the game came from a former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul.

On his Twitter feed, McFaul was pointedly asked after the conclusion of the Russia-U.S. game: "So how did you like the hockey?"


To which McFaul replied:


-- Michael Scollon

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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 transmission+rferl.org

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