Historians on Czech-Slovak divorce

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Czechs are preparing to vote in June's general elections. Ten years ago - at about this time - people were also getting ready to vote in general elections -elections which would inevitably lead to the break up of the Czechoslovak federation in 1993. A few days ago the Czech Academy of Sciences organized a round table debate in which historians could consider the matter with hindsight. One of the prominent Czech historians present was Jan Rychlik, who was a senior government advisor at the time of the break up, and I asked him whether the Czech-Slovak divorce had indeed been inevitable.

Many of the participants in the debate accepted the logic of this argument - nevertheless - there was some nostalgia for the common state - historian Vilem Precan shares his feelings : Finally, how do Slovaks themselves feel about the break up of the Czechoslovak federation ? Miroslav Kmet is from the Slovak Foreign Ministry and I asked him what Slovakia had gained by the divorce.

"That's a difficult question. There are advantages and disadvantages. But basically, what the Slovaks gained is independence, which many people feel to be of crucial importance. We have become more visible in the world. And we have taken responsibility for our own fate. I think this has improved our relations with the Czechs because we have stopped endlessly arguing about who is responsible for this or that failure of the common state. "

Off - If you'd like to hear more about the events that led to the break up of the Czechoslovak federation in 1993 tune in to Magazine this Friday /June 7th/ for an interview with historian Jan Rychlik.