A number of political scientists, sociologists, historians and other academics gathered earlier this week at an international conference in Prague to discuss what democracy means in Europe. The conference was organized by the French Social Science Research Centre and tried to tackle questions like: how important is it to vote? What forms of political representation are most democratic? One of the most interesting parts of the discussion was on the role played by former dissidents in the current political life of those EU member countries that were
Throughout the spring Radio Prague has been running its series on Czechs in Toronto - a look at the lives of Czechs who fled Communist Czechoslovakia to Canada. It turns out that students at a high school in the North Bohemian town of Liberec have been up to something similar. Under the guidance of their history teacher, they headed for Toronto last summer, putting together a study as well a short film on émigrés'. What they recorded were some moving testimonies indeed.
Ctirad and Josef Masin and three others made a dramatic escape to the West in 1953. But in their wake they left six people dead, and many Czechs regard them as murderers. After being passed over for official state honours, the Masins and their friends are now being given an award by a Czech and Slovak association in the Canadian city of Halifax.
In yesterday's programme, the journalist and publisher Alexandr Tomsky recalled his early life and the decades he spent as a rather reluctant exile in London. Now, in the second part of this One on One special, Mr Tomsky talks about his return to Prague, his career in politics and why believes in monarchy. But first he recounts his impressions of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
My guest today in this special two-part One on One is the multi-faceted Alexandr Tomsky. Mr Tomsky has been a journalist, a teacher, an advisor to Margaret Thatcher and a right of centre politician. He set up the exile publishing house Rozmluvy (Debate) in England in 1980, before later running the prestigious Academia publishing house in Prague. When he visited Radio Prague the other day, I asked Alexandr Tomsky to tell us a little bit about his background.
Anyone who has ever spent a few days among Czechs in Toronto will have probably heard of Ivo and Jindriska Syptak - one of the most amiable and dedicated couples in the city's Czechoslovak community. In their sixties, Ivo and his wife regularly bring together Czechs and Slovaks, regardless of whether they've been in Canada for three months or for thirty years. As you'll find out, they have remarkable stories too. In Part One: Ivo's parents, Ivo's childhood during the war, and one of the most dramatic escapes from Czechoslovakia ever. In Part Two:
Hundreds of people attended a rally in Prague's Old Town Square on Friday to mark the 57th anniversary of the communist seizure of power in February 1948. Under the very same balcony at which Klement Gottwald announced the communist takeover, the crowd listened in respectful silence as a speaker read out the names of the people executed by the communist regime that ruled this country for over forty years.
The Czech Republic has been marking the 57th anniversary of the communist takeover in 1948. A small crowd gathered in the Prague district of Mala Strana on Friday to commemorate a university student march to Prague Castle in which the students expressed support to then president Edvard Benes on February 25, 1948. The participants of the 1948 march were persecuted under the communist regime, which lasted in the country for forty years following the coup in February 1948.
February 25th of 1948 - the day of the communist takeover in Czechoslovakia- is a day that those who lived through prefer to forget and the young generation usually has no idea what the date is linked to. But Czechs wouldn't be Czechs if they couldn't poke fun at everything - even the dark chapters of their history.
Exactly 57 years ago, on 25 February 1948 the Communists seized power in post-war Czechoslovakia. This marked the beginning of more than four decades of hard line communist rule, brought to an end by the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Czechoslovak Communist leader Klement Gottwald on that fateful day in 1948 announced on Prague's Old Town Square that the resignation of several non-communist ministers had been accepted by the president. Even though the change to a totalitarian system did not happen just overnight, this event was symbolic of the start
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