Czechs and Slovaks are marking 25 years since the break-up of Czechoslovakia and the birth of two independent republics in the heart of Europe. What led to the so-called Velvet Divorce after more than seventy years of a common state and was it inevitable? How do Czechs and Slovaks feel about the break-up today? And have the two neighbor states managed to retain the special relationship born of many years of close co-existence? Find out in Radio Prague’s mini-series devoted to the break-up of Czechoslovakia 25 years ago.
In 2018 Czechs and Slovaks will jointly mark the centenary of the birth of independent Czechoslovakia. At the same time the two nations will look back on 1993, the year that their coexistence in a common state of Czechs and Slovaks ended in divorce. In the first part of Radio Prague’s miniseries on the Velvet Divorce we look at why Czechoslovakia broke up.
The two main architects of the separation of Czechoslovakia 25 years ago exceptionally shared the same platform in Prague on Monday to give their version of why the dramatic move was necessary and how it played out. Not surprisingly, both the former Czech and Slovak politicians agreed wholeheartedly that history had proved them right.
"It’s the economy stupid." That phrase underlying US president Bill Clinton’s first election campaign sums up one of the major fault lines in Czech-Slovak relations in the 20th century and many of the reasons for the eventual divorce. Separated, the two countries initially followed different paths, but the outcome has been surprisingly similar with one notable exception, the euro.
Katrin Taussig was born in Slovakia but spent nearly half of her life in Prague, where she lives with her Czech husband and two daughters. What are her memories of the split of Czechoslovakia 25 years ago? Does she want her kids to be able to speak Slovak? And where does she feel at home today?