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Czech Republic may take "moderate steps" towards Russia after elections — expert

Neither Russia nor the Czech Republic wish a further escalation of tensions, Andrey Kortunov noted

MOSCOW, October 11. /TASS/. When it has a new government following the just-held parliamentary elections, the Czech Republic may take a "series of moderate steps" to mend relations with Russia, the Director-General of the Russian International Affairs Council, Andrey Kortunov, told TASS on Monday.

"An improvement of relations may well be expected. We may see a series of very moderate steps, which in combination will help get back to the pre-crisis state of affairs at least in some respects, if not completely," Kortunov said when asked about his vision of the prospects of bilateral relations in the wake of the Czech parliamentary elections.

Kortunov speculated that Moscow and Prague might agree to increase quotas for diplomats at their respective embassies, facilitate tourist trips and restore air links and humanitarian contacts to the full.

"Also, there may follow different gestures to express the wish to restore relations. It is essential to avoid their worsening in the economy and to avoid repressive measures in trade," Kortunov said.

He stressed that neither Russia nor the Czech Republic wished a further escalation of tensions. Some statements made in Prague ahead of the elections were quite indicative in this respect.

As he looked back on the diplomatic row between the Czech Republic and Russia last April, Kortunov remarked that both countries now hoped the smoldering crisis in bilateral relations will soon be a thing of the past.

"This is an abnormal situation. It hinders the work of embassies and makes life harder for people in both countries, who are faced with visa problems. "The tourist flow between Russia and the Czech Republic is heavy and both sides are interested in restoring the situation to normal.