Speaking to Prague's Radio Frekvence 1 on Sunday, Zeman noted that "I am traveling to Moscow to express my gratitude for the fact that we are not forced to speak German in my country, and do not need to say 'Heil Hitler' or 'Heil Heydrich'," referring to a high-ranking Nazi official, who served as Deputy Protector of Bohemia and Moravia and who was one of the authors of the Holocaust before being assassinated by Czech and Slovak partisans in 1942. "It was Heydrich who announced in September, 1941 from the Prague Castle that Czechs don't belong on this land." The president added that Czechs were next in line for extermination "right after the Jews."
Zeman stated that his visit would signify his country's respect to the 150,000 Soviet soldiers who fell in battle while freeing Czechoslovakia. "Without the Soviet Union, it would have been impossible to defeat Hitler. The price [of this victory was] 20 million Soviet citizens."
Commenting on the German Chancellor's plans to come to Moscow a day after Victory Day, Zeman noted that she probably made this decision because she would not have an opportunity to negotiate with the Russian president on May 9. "On the day of the parade, none of us [heads of state] will have an opportunity to negotiate with Vladimir Putin. In the best case there will be a chance to shake hands. After the parade, there will probably be the traditional photography sessions [for heads of state]. And perhaps we will be given something to eat, and that's it." Regarding the protocol involving photo opportunities, Zeman noted that he "will try to stand as far away from Kim Jong-un as possible, since, as I've already said, I will not shake hands with him."