An influential minority in Eastern Europe see better relations with Russia as a way to counterbalance Europe’s old world powers

PRAGUE—Czechs are voting in the first round of presidential elections Friday and Saturday and a world power is on the ballot: Russia.

President Miloš Zeman is seeking a second term and has cast himself as Vladimir Putin’s partner in Europe. Prague’s relationship with Moscow is “10 times” more important than with neighbors like France, he told the Russian president in November, chitchatting in Russian in front of journalists who he berated for their inability to speak the language. The 73-year-old has proposed a referendum...



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