End of Communism?

Article excerpt

Byline: James Morrison, THE WASHINGTON TIMES


As a young man in the heady autumn of 1989, Czech Ambassador Petr Kolar took to the streets with tens of thousands of other protesters to push for the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

Today he worries about a resurgence of the totalitarian movement that crushed the dreams of freedom for generations of Europeans under the domination of the Soviet Union.

The end of communism does not mean the end of the aspirations of communism to come back. There are still very high risks, Mr. Kolar said Wednesday at a Heritage Foundation forum on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Mr. Kolar warned that some leftist politicians are attempting to take advantage of the disappointment among Czechs who failed to reap economic benefits from capitalism.

He said communism fell because of hypocrisy, corruption and corrosion within the system and because of its failure to fulfill promises of creating a utopian society. Communists promised bread, but Czechs got bread lines.

The democratic revolutions of 1989 began in Poland, where the Solidarity trade union created the first non-communist government in a Warsaw Pact nation after years of underground agitation. Reform spread to Hungary, which elected a democratic parliament in October, and to the former Czechoslovakia, where massive demonstrations led to the collapse of the Communist Party in November.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of East Germans began fleeing through Hungary and Czechoslovakia and the Berlin Wall was breached on Nov. 9. The Soviet Union collapsed two years later.

Estonian Ambassador Vaino Reinart, who also spoke at the Heritage forum, said, There was no wall in the heart of the people. If there was a wall, it was the Kremlin wall.

In Estonia, there is no sympathy for communist ideology, he added. …