Petr Pavel is the president of the Czech Republic and a retired general. He was commander of the Czech Army General Staff from 2012 to 2015 and chairman of the NATO Military Committee from 2015 to 2018.
Petr Pavel was born on November 1, 1961, in Plana, Bulgaria, to the family of professional military officer Josef Pavel.
He studied at the Jan Žižka Military High School and the Military College of the Ground Forces, specializing in intelligence. He also received post-graduate training at the Brno Military Academy in command and staff intelligence.
Then Pavel also completed a strategic intelligence course in the US and a brigade command and staff course in the UK.
In 2005-2006 he studied in London at the Royal College of Defence Studies and King's College London. There he earned a Master of Arts degree in International Relations.
Career in the Army
Pavel began his military career in 1983 in the Czechoslovak Army. At that time he was appointed commander of a reconnaissance paratrooper platoon of special purpose.
Subsequently, he was appointed commander of the company of paratrooper reconnaissance special forces, which he commanded for three years until 1988.
Since 1991 Pavel joined the military intelligence service.
In 1993-1994 he was deputy military and air attaché of the Czech Republic in Belgium.
In 1993, a unit under Pavel's command, part of the UNPROFOR peacekeeping mission, rescued 53 French soldiers trapped between Serbs and Croats. France awarded Paul the Cross of Military Valor for conducting the military rescue operation. In the Czech Republic, he also received the Medal of Heroism.
In 1996, Pavel was appointed military assistant to the director of Military Intelligence of the Czech Republic. A year later he became commander of the Special Forces Brigade in Prostějov, which he headed until 1999.
For the next three years, until 2002, Pavel was the military assistant to the director of operations for Allied Regional Command North in Brunswick, the Netherlands.
In December 2002, Pavel was promoted to the rank of brigadier general and was appointed commander of the Special Forces of the Army of the Czech Republic.
In 2003, he was the national representative to the Central Command of the U.S. Armed Forces in the United States and Qatar.
In the same year he was appointed deputy commander of the combined forces.
From 2005 to 2007, he was chief of division at the Czech Ministry of Defense - head of the Operations Department.
From 2007 to 2009 he was Deputy Military Representative of the Czech Republic to the EU.
From 2010 to 2011 he was the Military Representative of the Czech Republic in the Headquarters of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe.
In 2011-2012, Pavel became deputy chief of the Czech General Staff, whom he succeeded on July 1, 2012.
In September 2014, he was elected head of the NATO Military Committee, becoming the first representative of an Eastern European state in that position. Pavel chaired the NATO Military Committee until June 2018.
Pavel was a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, receiving his party card in 1985. Immediately after the Velvet Revolution in December 1989, he left the party.
The politician speaks Czech, French, English and Russian.
In 2018, Pavel retired from the army and two years later founded the initiative "Together Stronger" (Spolu silnejšie). His organization helped the country fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
In June 2022 Pavel officially announced that he intended to participate in presidential elections. He described his main goal in the position of the head of state as the establishment of order and peace in the Czech Republic.
During the campaign, he advocated that the rich pay higher taxes and advocated redistribution of wealth.
He also declared support for same-sex marriage and adoption rights for the LGBT community.
In the first round of the presidential election held January 13-14, 2023, Pavel won 35.39% of the votes, beating his rival, the pro-Russian billionaire Andrej Babiš, who received 35% of the votes.
In the second round Pavel confidently defeated Babis. He will take over the official duties of the President in March 2023.
After winning the elections, Pavel announced that he intended to visit Ukraine together with Slovak President Zuzana Chaputova.
War in Ukraine
During his presidential campaign, Pavel stated that Western countries should respond more forcefully to a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Pavel also repeatedly criticized the political situation in Russia, saying that "there will be no democratic revolution in Russia in the near future." He does not believe that the Russian mentality is capable of creating a movement that would be a real opposition to the aggressor president Vladimir Putin.
He thinks that even Alexei Navalny, whom Russia calls the main oppositionist, is not a real democratic leader, because he is just another type of Russian nationalist. However, he thinks that negotiating with Navalny would be better than negotiating with Putin.
He also criticized the Russians who fled mobilization in Russia, saying that their actions are not "an uprising against the regime and not an aid to Ukraine. He is convinced that the fugitives simply do not want to die in the war, but still support "Putin's nationalist policies."
Pyotr Pavel has been married twice. From his first marriage he has sons - Jan and Peter.
The second spouse is Eva Pavlova. She is a colonel of aviation.