The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes is under pressure this week after a petition was circulated calling for the dismissal of the Institute’s director, Pavel Žáček. Such petitions are not uncommon in the Czech Republic and this one – circulated by former dissident Stanislav Penc – might have gone more or less unnoticed had it not been signed by ex-president Václav Havel.
Za Svobodu! – called Be Free! in English – is the title of an exhibition the Czech National Museum opened on Tuesday’s anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution. It is located in the institution’s new building, the former home of Czechoslovakia’s Federal Assembly, and is co-curated by Lucie Swierczeková.
Over the last two years we have listened to sounds from the Czech Radio archives going back over eighty years. In this, the last of the series, we look at two of the big events of the last decade - the Czech Republic’s accession to NATO and then, five years later, to the European Union. We start with NATO, which the Czech Republic joined in March 1999 along with Hungary and Poland. In 2002 Prague hosted a major NATO summit, at which seven further Eastern and Central European countries were invited to join. At the summit, President Václav Havel
The Prague Conservatory – teaching music and acting – is one of the oldest and most remarkable secondary schools of its type in Central Europe. Dating back roughly 200 years, the school has currently begun celebrating the upcoming anniversary of its founding with a series of exhibitions, publications and events to take place over the next 24 months or so.
The people of the Czech Republic have been marking the 20th anniversary of the start of the Velvet Revolution, which led to the collapse of the country’s Communist government after over four decades of repression. The main event on Tuesday was the re-enactment in Prague of the student demonstration that sparked those changes in 1989.
Rundown buildings, empty shop-windows and ever-present grayness – that’s the focus of a new photography exhibition called ‘Tady bylo Husákovo’ – ‘This Once Was Husák’s Country’, which is now on display at Prague’s Louvre Gallery. The collection of photographs by Lubomír Kotek documents the atmosphere of Prague streets in the years preceding the Velvet Revolution.
Several months ahead of the Velvet Revolution Michal Horáček, a well-known lyricist, and rock performer Michael Kocáb founded the initiative Most (Bridge), aimed at creating a platform to allow the then-Communist regime to communicate with the dissidents it so often jailed. At first, the effort was viewed as naïve, but within several months the situation changed dramatically. After police violently cracked down on students on November 17, the initiative grew in importance, and eventually did succeed in bringing Communist leaders and dissidents to
Our special programme marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of communism was recorded on November 9 in front of a live audience at Prague’s celebrated film and TV academy. Radio Prague’s Jan Richter chaired a fascinating and lively discussion about the Velvet Revolution, its legacy and meaning for today. On the panel were: Jiří Stránský: a Czech writer who spent much of the 1950s in communist prisons; Václav Bartuška: a student activist at the time of the revolution and the first person to be given access to the StB (secret police) files – he