Milovice commemorates departure of Red Army

Milovice today, photo: Tiia Monto, CC BY-SA 4.0 International

As you may have heard in a Spotlight programme that I did a couple of weeks back, the North Bohemian town of Milovice is this year commemorating 10 years since the departure of the Russian Army. Milovice was the main headquarters of the Red Army in the former Czechoslovakia, although since the political changes of 1989, the small town has been struggling to find itself a new role for itself in a democratic free society. By Peter Smith.

Milovice today,  photo: Tiia Monto,  CC BY-SA 4.0 International
Milovice has long been allied with its larger neighbour Lysa nad Labem, and a couple of weeks ago I spoke to the former mayor of the town - now a MP - Hynek Fyman, and asked him just what kind of investment the area was managing to attract..

"I was successful to find two very good investors - one international company, MERSK, which will be building one Central European Terminal, and a second is the Belgian University of Leevan, which wants to create a university campus. For these investors it is very important to have a pleasant environment and they prefer places with some tradition and settled inhabitants and some cultural background. Milovice also has a very strong tradition - it is a historical site for many centuries and there is a basis on which it can construct something in the future."

But the legacy of the barracks alone will not be enough to attract capital and create jobs in the deprived town..

Milovice today
There are three categories of barracks - you can find there Austrian barracks, First Republic Czechoslovak barracks and Communist Czechoslovak barracks and you can find Soviet blocks of flats. I don't think that this creates such a big interest - of course, it can bring some interest from people who are interested in architecture, but there are not so many people interested in this. There are some, but this cannot be the basis for some great development.

It has been a long held dream that a new airport will be built on a site close to Milovice - an idea first championed by the legendary Czech rock star and former MP, Michal Kocab. The plan - which would create thousands of new jobs and mean a massive boost to the local economy - has been plagued in the past by investment and feasibility problems. According to Hynek Fyman, though, the airport is the bright new future of Milovice..

Crucial point is the airport and its future. I asked the Prime Minister about the government's intention about the airport and I hope that he will reply very soon, and describe what the government will do. I hope that there will be another tender - more realistic that will not put too high conditions for future use.

There will be a festival to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Red Army's departure from Milovice - it will feature exhibitions, a flying display as well as a concert by the appropriately named boy-band A-TAK. It will take place in Milovice - close to Nysa nad Labem on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd June.