Czechast About the Political Landscape of Czechia

Petr Just in front of the Lincoln High School
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Political scientist Petr Just in Czechast: "How is it possible that the parties that currently act more nationalistically are led by people who are not 100 percent Czech?"

Petr Just in front of the Nebraska State Capitol | Photo:  Petr Just

Petr Just is a renowned Czech political scientist and academic, who teaches at both the Metropolitan University and Charles University in Prague. Born in communist Czechoslovakia, Petr experienced a life-changing year as a high-school student in Lincoln, Nebraska, following the fall of communism. Today, he shares insights from this formative experience in the United States and how it shaped his views.

"I met a lot of people with Czech roots who enjoyed meeting someone who comes from Czechia. They usually did not speak Czech, anymore. Despite that, they enjoyed telling me in their remnants of Czech 'Jak se máš', 'Dobrý den', 'Dáš si pivo?', and similar things."

Petr Just lecturing on Velvet revolution at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln | Photo:  Archive of Petr Just

But that's not all. Petr also provides us with an essential crash course on the Czech political landscape. He delves into the intricacies of Czech politics, the nuanced relationship between the Czechs and Slovaks since the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993, and how these dynamics continue to shape the nation. He also mentions one curious thing about the Czech political landscape that has been continously intriguing outside observers:

"How is it possible that the parties that currently act more nationalistically are led by people who are not 100 percent Czech?"

Petr Just lecturing at University of Nebraska–Lincoln | Photo:  Archive of Petr Just

If you don’t know who Petr is talking about, do not worry, we will explain. Finally, we'll discuss the major challenges Petr sees facing the Czech Republic and its political representation today.

"We should focus on defending the liberal democracy, defending the trust of the democratic institutions and procedures, and not to give any room and potrential to anyone who would 'steal' the democracy and transform it into an illiberal or authoritarian regime."

Petr Just | Photo: ČT24

In case you will be listening in the United States, let me assure you, we will also explain that the word “liberal” in the European and Czech context means something quite different than in the US. In other words, in this episode of Czechast, we're in for an enlightening conversation with political scientist Petr Just.

Author: Vít Pohanka
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    Czechast is a regular RPI podcast about Czech and Moravian culture, history, and economy.