Přibyl Out as Chief of Staff

Pavel Přibyl is out as the government’s chief of staff after MFDnes nailed him to the wall late Friday. But the whole affair really leaves me with more questions about Stanislav Gross’ agenda than answers. The obvious one is this: In a country of ten million, with literally thousands of talented managers to choose from, why did Gross feel such a strong need to have not just a Communist functionary, but a full-blown Communist pit bull as his right-hand man?

I’m glad to see MFDnes regain the initiative on this story, and will look forward to the next emerging scandal – of opposition Civic Democrats’ (attempts to buy the one vote that would bring down the government). More on that this week. In the meantime, here’s the translation of the MFDnes story.

BRNO, PRAGUE – Pavel Přibyl, a former officer in the special police forces under the Communists, is no longer government chief of staff. It was this past as the leader of troops in the emergency corps that he stepped down. It happened a half hour after MF Dnes confronted Prime Minister Stanislav Gross with archive documents that show that Přibyl’s underlings, during anti-Communist demonstrations, injured at least two people and were investigated. “I’m not going to curse. I said that if they find that Přibyl hurt somebody, he would be out of the office of the government. This is true for his people as well,” Gross said.

Documents were found in the archives of the Interior Ministry that show Přibyl’s underling Robert Urda faced charges of attacking a defenseless citizen. On the anniversary of the creation of the Republic, on 28 October 1989, when people wanted to commemorate on the streets of Prague, Sergeant Robert Urda beat a random pedestrian. “On náměstí Krasnoarmějců, without reason, he beat citizen Jindřich Marek with his fists,” an Interior Ministry report from 1990 wrote. During the investigation, inspectors found that Urda was led by Přibyl. Fiery Sergeant Urda may not have been the only one of Přibyl’s underlings who “defended” Communism with their fists against defenseless people. Inspectors confirmed an additional five “roughnecks” in Přibyl’s platoon who beat other demonstrators.

In a statement yesterday for press agencies, Přibyl admitted that attacks on demonstrators took place, but said he did not give the orders. “Early yesterday evening I got information that in 1989, against my orders, and never under my direct command, and without my knowledge of the situation that Prime Minister Gross talked about when telling representatives of the petition [against Přibyl] that it would be a reason for my removal,” Přibyl announced, and announced his resignation.

The past of Pavel Přibyl, who Prime Minister Gross brought with him from the Interior Ministry, was brought to light by MF Dnes August 6. A number of people protested against his engagement in high state positions. A demonstration took place Tuesday in front of the Office of the Government. At that moment, Gross held on to his protectee. Last night, in the end, Gross said his resignation was correct.

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