The Eastern European Economy in Context: Communism and the Transition

By David Turnock | Go to book overview

5

NATIONAL PROFILES

Northern countries

FORMER CZECHOSLOVAKIA (FCSFR)

Pressure for change was not evident at the very beginning of 1989 when the anniversary of J. Palach's suicide of 1969 (protesting against the suppression of the 1968 Prague Spring) led to the arrest and imprisonment of the dissident dramatist V. Havel. Further demonstrations in the summer were linked with the anniversary of the Warsaw Pact invasion and renewed manifestations in November marked the fiftieth anniversary of the execution of J. Opletal by the Nazis. Police brutality on the latter occasion provoked a massive pro-democracy campaign coordinated by Civic Forum (CF) in which Havel (released from prison in May) and other opposition figures were active, with support from the equivalent Slovak group Public Against Violence (PAV) (Ulc 1992). The entire communist leadership resigned and the Federal Assembly deleted the reference to the Communist Party's leading role from the constitution. At the end of the year a new communist premier (L. Adamec) failed to win opposition acceptance for a majority communist government; so a 'Government of National Understanding' emerged under M. Calfa (a former communist PAV member) allowing a majority for candidates nominated by the non-communist political parties (Wolchik 1993). President G. Husak resigned and was replaced by Havel, while A. Dubcek (the reformist communist leader of 1968) became Chairman of the Federal Assembly. And then the velvet revolution was rounded off by the formation of a CF government in the Czech Republic in 1990, while PAV assumed power in Slovakia (Jehlicka et al. 1993). Support for PAV was high, aiming at the progressive urban electorate, while Catholic areas in rural West Slovakia tilted towards Christian Democrats; and Hungarians in the south supported their own party (Mariot 1991). There was a witch-hunt against communists and secret police collaborators in the Czech Republic; this possibly went too far when isolated and trivial indiscretions were used as grounds for dismissal.

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The Eastern European Economy in Context: Communism and the Transition
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables vii
  • Maps viii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • References 10
  • 2 - Eastern Europe Under Communism 12
  • 3 - The Transition 84
  • 4 - Transition to a Market Economy 136
  • 5 - National Profiles 177
  • 6 - National Profiles 218
  • 7 - Restructuring in Agriculture and Industry 261
  • 8 - Prospects for the Regions of Eastern Europe 323
  • Bibliography 361
  • Index 391
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