We Don’t Want to Prepare for War: Alena Schillerová Faces Criticism for Her Populist-Pacifist Statement

Michal Kamaryt

Alena Schillerová, chairwoman of the parliamentary club of the ANO movement, has faced significant criticism after declaring that they “do not want to prepare for war; they want to live in peace.” This statement comes when surrounding states, including the Czech Republic, are significantly arming themselves. Defense Minister Jana Černochová (ODS) admonished Schillerová, stating that “the illusion of eternal peace is long gone and that the government must ensure the security of the country.”

While countries like Romania have significantly increased their military budget due to the war in Ukraine, Schillerová criticized defense spending in the CzechCrunch podcast. She reiterated several times that the Czech Republic was not at war and needed more investment in transport infrastructure. “We have to and want to fulfill our commitments, but it has to match the pace we can afford,” she declared.

Her statement, however, ignited a wave of criticism. Defense Minister Černochová expressed her expectation that Schillerová would retract her statement “as nonsense accidentally blurted out.” She accused Schillerová of sugar-coating reality and lying about the need for defense and the army.

Opposition and coalition MPs from the Defense Committee in the Chamber of Deputies disagreed with Schillerová’s statement. Marek Ženíšek (TOP 09) contended that to live in peace, we must be prepared for anything, and a potential aggressor must know about our preparedness.

Despite the backlash, Schillerová stood by her statement. She insisted that she was talking about the overall distribution of investments, which should primarily aim to stimulate the economy and stop the highest natural wage decline among the OECD. She also pointed out that during the eight years the ANO movement has been in government, defense spending has risen from 42 to 85 billion crowns.