The former political regime in Czechoslovakia deemed much of Western culture “damaging” and “ideologically subversive”, but authorities struggled in particular to control the flood of foreign rock ’n’ roll and pop music. State cultural agencies and censors rarely allowed Western bands to perform here or even play their music on the airwaves. But unofficial channels filled the demand – through illegal imports, home-copying networks and ‘magnetizdat’ – do-it-yourself music. At the same time, state authorities sanctioned Western music when sung by Czech
The vast majority of Czechs who remember the communist days, say they would
never again queue up to buy goods, according to a poll conducted by the
agency STEM/MARK in connection with the upcoming 30th anniversary of the
fall of communism.
Cues were a regular part of daily life in the communist days, and people stood in line for hours to get goods in short supply or even overnight to buy a colour TV or a car.
Seventy-two percent of respondents over 60 said they would no longer be willing to stand in line more than a few minutes for any kind of goods.
A poll conducted among respondents born after 1989 revealed that only 41 percent of respondents felt so strongly about standing in line. The majority of young people said they could image doing so for something they wanted badly.
Prague councillors unanimously agreed on Monday to establish a Museum of
20th Century Memory that will focus on the history of non-free regimes in
the Czech lands. The city council is to put the proposal to a formal vote
on September 19.
A total of 30 civic associations and social organizations bringing together former political prisoners, educators and researchers had expressed support for setting up the new museum.
If approved, the museum’s board will likely include historian and writer Jiří Padevět, Post Bellum director Mikuláš Kroupa and historian Petr Blažek of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.
T-Club is the name of one of the two gay clubs that operated in the Czech capital under Communism. The place, frequented by the LGBT community, was immortalized in a series of pictures taken by photographer Libuše Jarcovjáková. They are now on display within the Prague Pride festival, which got underway on Monday.
The Communist Party leadership is due to meet with representatives of the
ANO party on Tuesday to assess to what extent the minority government of
ANO and the Social Democrats is fulfilling the tolerance agreement with the
Communists which has enabled it to govern.
The Communist Party has tolerated the government in return for policy concessions and support for its own stated policy priorities, such as a tax on church restitutions and increased expenditures in the social sphere.
The Communist Party has so far shown no indication that it might withdraw this support over the scandals surrounding the prime minister or the drawn-out crisis concerning the culture minister.
Animator Gene Deitch settled in Prague almost 60 years ago and directed Tom and Jerry and Popeye cartoons behind the Iron Curtain for the US market. The small number of other Americans who moved here in the communist period were one subject we discussed in the second half of an extensive interview. But I began by asking Deitch about the time the great folk singer and social activist Pete Seeger, a good friend of his, visited Czechoslovakia in 1964.
The publication of the manifesto Několik vět, or A Few Sentences, was a milestone in the final year of communism in Czechoslovakia. After being broadcast by Radio Free Europe and Voice of America on June 29, 1989, the document – calling for the release of political prisoners and other freedoms – was eventually signed by around 40,000 people. I discussed its contribution to the eventual fall of communism with historian Jakub Jareš.
Saturday is the 30th anniversary of the publication of the dissident A Few
Sentences manifesto in the then illegal newspaper Lidové noviny, on June
22, 1989. The document demanded the end of criminalisation of
Czechoslovakia’s opposition, the release of political prisoners and the
lifting of a ban on public gatherings.
A Few Sentences is considered to have been officially declared on June 27, when its text was broadcast on Radio Free Europe. Over the coming months it was signed by around 40,000 people, making it the biggest action of its kind. Communism fell in Czechoslovakia five months later.
The early years of Czechoslovakia’s Communist regime were marked by hundreds of tragic stories which revolved around injustice, torture and in many cases death. One of the most famous is that of General Heliodor Píka, an exemplary First Republic general who, exactly 70 years ago, became the first victim of the rigged trials that typified the period.