An exhibition of photographs of Communist-era shop windows called Nakupuji, or I Shop, has just opened at Prague's Galerie Vaclava Spaly. The photos were taken in Czechoslovakia and elsewhere in the Eastern Bloc in the mid- to late-1980s (and Russia in 1990) and represent a vivid and informative record of their time. The man who created them, Canadian-American photographer David Hlynsky, was in town for the exhibition opening, and I asked him 'why shop windows?'
Poland's former Communist leader Wojciech Jaruzelski has apologised for the role his country played in the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. General Jaruzelski served as Defence Minister in August 1968, when 26,000 Polish troops joined the huge invasion force which crossed Czechoslovakia's borders.
Despite screening laws, former members of the communist-era intelligence services continue to hold positions of authority in today's modern equivalent, the BIS, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes reports. At least two high-ranking Czech BIS officers who received KGB training under the previous regime and worked with the Soviets to undermine NATO, now work in a politically sensitive BIS section tasked with uncovering agents from the countries of the former Soviet Union.
Twenty-five years ago, in communist Czechoslovakia, the young judge Vlasta Formankova sentenced a man to ten months in prison. All he had done was to throw a group of local party apparatchiks out of his restaurant. Twenty-five years later that "error of judgment", as she now calls it, almost prevented her being nominated as a Constitutional Court judge. On Thursday members of the Czech Senate, responsible for approving the president's choices to serve as judges in the court, debated Formankova's nomination heatedly, with a slim majority in
Radio Free Europe, which many Czechs listened to surreptitiously in the Communist era, moved from Munich to Prague in the early 1990s, at the invitation of then president Vaclav Havel. Though security was stepped up at its headquarters after 9/11, Czech politicians say its current location at the top of Wenceslas Square poses a threat to the general population. Now Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has finally found a new, safer location - in a new building in the Prague 10 district of Hagibor.
The Czech Republic has protested to the Cuban government against the arrest of around two dozen dissidents on the island last Friday. The Czech Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling on Havana to respect human rights and release all political prisoners; it said it would maintain its policy of campaigning within the European Union against human rights abuses in Cuba.
Almost sixteen years after the fall of communism, many people, including historians, still find it hard to get access to the files of the StB, the former communist secret police. A group of senators are now proposing that a special Institute of National Memory should be established to gather all the documents in one place, and provide researchers and the general public easier access to the files.
Leading Czech politicians paid tribute to Milada Horakova on Monday, 55
years after Mrs Horakova, a democratic opposition leader, was executed
by the Communists on trumped-up charges. The commemoration ceremony
took place at Prague's Memorial for the Victims of Communism, at the
foot of Petrin Hill. Among those to speak were Defence Minister Karel
Kuhnl and Senator Martin Mejstrik, the latter heavily criticising the
leadership of the communist party under Miroslav Grebenicek, suggesting
the party leader should "beg for forgiveness". Prague's Lord Mayor also
spoke saying there were still "many" who "despised democracy".
President Vaclav Klaus, who did not attend, sent a wreath that was laid at the memorial by the president's secretary. A minute of silence was held.
Over 1,000 skeletons discovered during renovation of Kutná Hora “bone church”
Language exams for foreigners seeking permanent residency permit to become tougher
Why are Russian and Chinese spying activities in Czech Republic so intense and how exactly do they do it?
Prague’s historical Koh-i-noor factory to be converted into residential area
The history of the “German Czechs”