Czech president writes his account of country’s course for Velvet Revolution commemoration

Václav Klaus, photo: CTK

President Václav Klaus is making his own contribution to the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. The Czech president has penned his own assessment of how and why Communism collapsed and how the new leadership, including himself, dealt with the challenges in a book that has just been released.

President Václav Klaus launched what he has described as his gift to the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the fall of communism on Tuesday. The book “Kde začíná zítřek” or “Where Tomorrow Begins” is a personal evaluation of the fall of communism and the attempts by the motley new leadership to set the former Czechoslovakia and then Czech Republic on a new course.

November 17 1989
The book has been a long term project of the Czech head of state but he was forced to interrupt it just over five years ago because of his presidential workload. He says the looming anniversary of the fall of end of Communist regimes in Central Europe gave him the impetus to complete the task.

Václav Klaus was not part of the dissident leadership that had opposed and been punished by the Communist regime but quickly became one of the main protagonists of the broad Civic Forum movement that sought to put the country on a new track. He made himself noticed for his knowledge of free market economics theory and championed that course as the answer to most questions starting “What next.”

The new book takes the line already aired by the president that the fall of Communism was more thanks to internal collapse rather than external factors. It argues that the Czechoslovak regime was already weak and people had ceased to fear it. That view of events of course denigrates the role of individuals such as Klaus’ presidential predecessor and long time opponent, Václav Havel.

Václav Klaus, photo: CTK
President Klaus also characterises the main post revolution battle in the early 1990’s as that between liberalism and what he describes as “Havelism” — the emphasis on non-political politics based an abstract humanist and civil view of society.

Like many of the President’s other public interventions, the book is expected to create a stir if only for his highly individual interpretation of events.