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No Confidence

On Mar. 24, the opposition parties in the Czech Parliament pushed through a vote of no confidence, toppling the coalition cabinet of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, which wasn’t strong enough to face the Social Democrats and the Communists together. Four rebels from the coalition voted with the opposition, parliamentarians Vlastimil Tlusty, and Jan Schwippel from […]

Prague Spring to Velvet Revolution

Prague Spring to Velvet Revolution

What was the Prague Spring, or the events of 1968 more generally? Their meaning, it seems, has become more, not less, debatable with the passage of time. My generation was forged by protests and police truncheons, by the hopes generated not only by the Prague Spring, but also by the Polish student movement that March, […]

An English Encounter

I’d been working up in the Zizkov district of Prague and was now heading down one of those narrow cobbled alleys towards the centre of town to reward myself with a beer in one of the outside bars along the Vltava, when I stopped in my tracks. “Oi! You. Yeah I’m talking to you! Yeah […]

Populism in the CEE

With the crumbling of communism in East-Central Europe, it seemed clear that the prospect of democratic change would depend on the new balance found between the democratic ethos of opposition to totalitarianism and the resurfacing of deeper undercurrents of the region’s political culture. A “return of democracy” was problematic for anybody who had studied pre-communist […]

Cold War Déjà Vu

Russia this week tested a new ballistic missile. According to the Associated Press (AP), the recent test was Russia’s direct rebuttal to the recent U.S. attempt to install a missile defense shield in post Soviet Block countries of Poland and the Czech Republic. While the U.S. has continued to defend its actions, calling the shield […]

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