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On politics, fake friends and lost love

Fast Confession - Vladimír Kremlík: My political role changed me for the worse and I lost my love

David Budai
09.Mar 2020
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7 minutes

Having a high political role changes people beyond recognition, and it often has a negative impact on one‘s partnership. The former Minister of Transport Vladimír Kremlík has learnt it first hand. He lost his love and forgot what it was like to be a “profound” and spontaneous guy. In an unusually open personal interview for, he spoke not only about the backstage of politics or the women asking him out, but also about his plans and newfound humility.

As a former Minister for Transport, I have to ask you: why does it take so long for a motorway or a new railway to be built in the Czech Republic?

That's a valid question, I kept asking myself the same thing over and over. It really takes way too long here, we have terrible legislation. It takes thirteen years on average to get something approved and start building. And this time needs to be shortened, the laws need to change. If the laws don‘t change, we will never be able to build faster in the Czech Republic.

And that, on the other hand, there are different groups or associations that defend their own interests, or appear to be defending their own interests, using legislation to do so, is a fact. But the government and the Minister for Transport need to make it their goal to change the legal environment and legislation.

And do you believe it will change? Even after you got a closer look as a minister?

I made changes during my time in the office, I sent a fundamental amendment of the law to speed up the construction of transport infrastructure, and the time should be reduced by approximately three to four years in that area. So we could could bring it down to nine years. But that‘s still too long, more changes have to be made.

What surprised you about politics? After all, you got into it as a lawyer...

I was surprised by the rhythm of work. I had to teach people at the ministry to work faster and more effectively because it was a very bureaucratic office. I had to get the organism moving and the employees eventually adapted to it.

So Czech officials are not lazy, they just need a little kick?

I‘d say motivation and a kick. I like the way you put it.

Are you planning to stay in politics?

At the moment I take it as an experience that has been concluded, and I wouldn‘t accept any other position in the government at the moment. But I don‘t rule out being active in politics in the future. I am not indifferent to public matters and in the future I would like to participate in changes that will benefit the country and the people.

What will you be doing now? Are you returning to advocacy?

I have returned to advocacy and renewed my practise. I process legal analyzes, write legal opinions and, of course, I have already issued my first invoice. (laughs)

That sounds a little boring. Do you enjoy it?

I enjoy it, it's something different. I want to focus on building my business. I would like for the legal environment to improve, be it construction, development or transport infrastructure. I am also interested in some investment opportunities in the field of startups.

What do you prefer to do in your free time?

That has changed in comparison with the time I had as a minister. Back then, I devoted myself to my children and my partner, Karolína. At present, I do more sports to improve my physical fitness, some of which I lost while working at the Ministry of Transport.

How much did you gain?

Before my time in the Ministry, I used to weigh 84.5 kilos. In July, Karolína and I went for a run along the Vltava River, and I made about five kilometers, which was encouraging. But after that I got out of shape and gained 8.5 kilos.

Didn't you have time for the gym?

There were multiple reasons. It's an irregular diet - you have a lot of meetings, on average I had eight to nine meetings a day, so it was difficult. And it‘s also time, because in the evening you hardly ever find time to work out.

Yet you belonged to those ministers who aren‘t sporting a "beer belly", you are an attractive man. Were you getting messages from women who wanted to meet you?

Indeed, I got quite a lot of interest from women. However, I found a relationship at the Ministry. But there‘s one thing - in essence, the political post, whether you want it or not, changes you to some extent. And in the field of relationship, it hasn‘t changed me in an entirely ideal way. So I'm trying to bring that „inner boy“ that I used to be before I met Karolína back. I would like to return to the humane Vláďa that stood at the beginning.

How exactly has it changed you?

It changes you for the worse. You slowly become authoritative, dictating others what they should be doing, and that doesn‘t belong in a relationship.

I'm surprised you admit it to yourself. A lot of politicians wouldn't...

I admit these things to myelf. The political role brought me both positive and negative things. And now I need to purge myself of the negatives and be who I really am.

You have already indicated on social network that your relationship with Karolína has fallen apart. Was it because of how you changed?

My relationship with Karoina was terminated and, in principle, I think it was terminated primarily for reasons on my part. Unfortunately, as I said, I focused too much on 'delivery', that is, on performance, prescribing… And I totally forgot to respect that there was is a fragile human being on my side, who has her own wishes, desires and ideas about life.

Are you sorry?

I take it as an experience and I understand that I have changed a lot in the personal area while in the office.

I suppose you didn't have much time for the relationship…

And that is the price you have to pay for politics, because then you‘re always at work. Politics sucks you in and it won‘t let you go. And when you're with your partner, you keep thinking about work issues. Wherever you go, you look at it from the perspective of your work. I could not relax, politics overwhelms relationships. You have a tendency to always control and decide things, which is a death sentence for a relationship.

Do you still get messages from women?

They are still writing and calling me, asking me out, inviting me for dates.

And can you tell if they‘re really looking for love or if they‘re interested in you just because you are well-known and influential?

I don‘t judge them like that. I have my inner values, I prioritize, and from my point of view it is important that I can look at myself. That the women have a reason to think "This Vláďa is a man with integrity who has his principles." And that‘s very important to me, because the post of Minister of Transport has changed me in this respect.

Luxusní byt na Starém Městě - Praha 1 - 120m
Luxusní byt na Starém Městě - Praha 1 - 120m, Praha 1

Your family fell apart. What happened?

Our marital relationship hadn‘t been working for a long time. We were stying together mostly for the sake of our children, since 2017 or so. We lived next to each other. So it's not that Vladimíir was unfaithful to his wife, he only replaced one relationship with another.

Do you have more time for your children now?

I'm trying to have more time.

How old are they?

Ten and thirteen years.

Approaching puberty...

You could say that. (laughs)

What kind of dad are you?

I have no choice but rate myself lower in this area. I didn‘t have enough time for them, I didn‘t do enough. So I wouldn‘t say I‘m a responsible father, rather the opposite.

Are you strict with them or do you rather give them freedom?

I think we need to give children a chance to find their own direction. Let them dream a little, give them freedom.

How did your children feel about you being in politics?

It affected them significantly because they didn‘t identify with the government engagement. In this respect, my family felt negatively about it.

Did you discuss it with your family, or did you simply announce "I am going to be Minister"...

I pretty much announced it. I knew they wouldn't agree, and they didn‘t.

What do you do besides sports?

I really like photography, I enjoyed going to the nature with Karolína and snapping photos. And I like reading books and France, so I‘ve recently read the memoir of the Sun King (Louis XIV., ed.). And also like opera and ballet.

I remember having read that you‘ve been drinking away your departure from the ministry office rather heavily at bars, there were even some pretty wild photos…

According to your Instagram, you are very much into sports. What do you do aside of going to the gym?

Skating, then I used to ride a horse, I played golf for quite a long time. And fitness, of course.

How often do you go to the gym these days? And is it a long-term passion of yours?

I try to go four to five times a week. And I‘ve been going for quite some time; I usually work out alone or with my friends.

Did you work out in the office, too?

There was a gym at the Ministry office, but I didn't manage to get there, because my work day usually started at 7 am and ended around half past seven.

It was a collage of old photos created by a tabloid magazine, presenting them as a recent situation. I was only in one bar in the center of Prague with my friends. (laughs)

How do the people around you feel about it, when the tabloids or other media mention you in connection with various affairs?

You have friends who don't mind, and then you have fake friends that stop talking to you. That‘s reality. You're out of office, so you're no longer a friend. It‘s something every politician has to count with. It's life.

What are your long-term plans? Where is your place in life?

I would like to establish myself in the business world, lead successful projects and focus on charity in the future. And of course I would like to get involved in politics again when the time is right.

And what about your personal dreams?

I would like to have a happy life and a partnership, respecting the values and personality of my partner. I wish for my children to grow up into good people and be successful.

What are your bad habits?

Authoritativeness, imperiousness, that's the worst.

When are you spontaneous?

That was terribly difficult for me. During the time I was in office, it was only a few times with Karolína, I could count it on the fingers of one hand. The best thing was when we went to look at sheep together or took a trip to the lookout Máj. Otherwise, I was too rigid, strict and so on. I'm trying to change that now, and find more of those moments that aren't filled with work and defined by my busy schedule.

Thank you very much for the interview.

Fast confession:

What two things you dislike about politics?

What I don‘t like about politics is when two people are unable to come to an agreement. And, of course, failure to comply with agreements.

What is worse, infidelity or political betrayal?

It depends on how you look at it. In one moment it may be infidelity, in another political betrayal.

What motto guides you through life?

My fundamental motto is: At the beginning as well as at the end of the day I am a lawyer.

What was the most expensive thing you bought for pleasure?

It's not about money. I buy a lot of things for pleasure, but it pleases me even more to gift others.

What can a woman impresses you with?

Above all with her fragility and inner splendor.

Can you recall any awkward moment that happened to you on a date?

There was one. When I missed the meeting place.

Have you ever had the desire to leave everything and disappear?

All the time!

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Definitely an early bird.

When was the last time you had a hangover?

On New Year's Eve in the Low Tatras.

A vacation you like to remember?

The one in the Low Tatras.

Which meal can you never get enough of?

I can never get enough of fried cheese with chips, tartar sauce and eggs.

Something you don't eat?

I can say that I eat more or less everything.

What do you value most about yourself?

I was just thinking about that. It's one thing - when I‘ve made a mistake, I‘m able to realize it and I try to fix the mistake. I'm working on fixing my mistakes.

How often do you go to the gym?

I used to go there six times a week, now it was four times a week.

How much can you lift on the bench?

Now a little less than before, about 80 kilos.
Question by the interviewee for the editor:

Are we done yet?

We are!
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