‘American beer is just filthy water’ - Czech President

Czech President Milos Zeman (Reuters/Petr Josek)
The Czech president Milos Zeman eulogized his country’s trademark beverage, while insulting US beer as “filthy water” during a presidential business summit in the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan.

Asked about which beer is the best in the world, by the longtime Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbaev, Zeman did not hesitate.

“We have built several breweries here already. We might make good planes, cars or other products, but most importantly, never forget - Czech beer is the best in the world,” said the 70-year-old.

“No American company that offers some filthy water instead of beer, can compete with us.”

Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev (C) welcomes his Czech counterpart Milos Zeman (R) during their meeting in Astana on November 24, 2014. (AFP Photo/Ilyas Omarov)

The patriotic leader has been entrusted with concluding $450 million worth of business deals between the Central Asian republic and Prague during a two-day business forum that finishes on Tuesday.

Zeman’s unsolicited sentiments may offend US brewers, but this is far from the most controversial statement the politician, elected last year, has made in the past few weeks.

Earlier this month, the Russian-speaking President gave a profane interview on Czech radio, calling the Russian protest group Pussy Riot, “f****d up” and “b*****s”, and translating their name into Czech as “c***s.”

After claiming that police force used to put down pro-democracy demonstrations in 1989 did not constitute a massacre, Zeman was pelted with eggs by a crowd holding red cards in Prague, during last week’s 25-year anniversary of the beginning of the fall of Communism in the country.

Demonstrators show red cards for Czech President Milos Zeman during a rally to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution on November 17, 2014 at Narodni street in Prague. (AFP Photo/Michal Cizek)

“I am not afraid of you!” Zeman retorted to the crowd, which cried that the president must not be allowed to come near a monument commemorating Communist oppression.

All the while, he has continued to insist that Russia has not initiated the conflict in eastern Ukraine, insisting that the West must lift sanctions on Moscow, and recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

READ MORE: EU should recognize Crimea as part of Russia – Czech president

The inflammatory statements have seen the President’s popularity slump from 58 to 37 percent in the space of a month, according to Prague’s Median polling firm. Last week’s poll numbers also showed that 71 percent of Czechs now believe that Zeman’s behavior and public statements are harming the image of the country abroad.