The Czech and Slovak Republics: Twenty Years of Independence, 1993-2013

The Czech and Slovak Republics: Twenty Years of Independence, 1993-2013

The Czech and Slovak Republics: Twenty Years of Independence, 1993-2013

The Czech and Slovak Republics: Twenty Years of Independence, 1993-2013

Synopsis

"This manuscript consists of ten chapters, two by former Prime Ministers of the Czech and Slovak Republics (Petr Pithart and Jozef Moravcik), plus eight leading scholars (four Czechs: Jan Rychlik, Adela Gjuricova, Martin Pospisil and Oldrich Tuma; and four Slovaks: Jozef Zatkuliak, Juraj Hocman, Martin Butora and Miroslav Londak) and eight knowledgeable commentators from North America (Carol Skalink Leff, James W. Peterson, John Gould, Kevin Deegan-Krause, Michael Kraus, Sharon Fisher, Sharon Wolchik, and Stanislav J. Kirschbaum). The chapters and commentaries put forward a comparison of the Czech and Slovak Republics over the past twenty years. They deal with the causes of the breakup of Czechoslovakia in 1993 and the political developments, the economic developments and the social developments in the new republics. This is the only English-language manuscript that presents the findings of the leading Czech and Slovak, and North American, scholars in the field. It brings new insights into the breakup of Czechoslovakia and into subsequent political, economic and social developments in those countries. The most significant finding of all the scholars was that, in spite of predictions by various pundits in the Western World that the Czech Republic would flourish after the breakup and Slovakia would languish, the opposite has happened. While the Czech Republic did well in its early years, it is now languishing while the Slovak Republic, which had a rough start, is now doing very well. Anyone interested in the history of the Czech and Slovak Republics over the last twenty years will be very interested in reading this book"--Provided by publisher.

Excerpt

M. Mark Stolarik

In 2013, the Czech and Slovak Republics celebrated twenty years of independence. Not all citizens welcomed the split. Furthermore, the new countries’ subsequent trajectories, which were sometimes painful and controversial, have received little comparative scholarly attention within the two republics. For observers on the outside, however, the new states have provided a rare opportunity to study political and social change in two closely related countries, an experiment of significant importance. Without emotional and political restraints, Western scholars quickly seized upon the causes of the split and the subsequent paths taken by the two new independent republics.

One of the first works to appear was by Carol Skalnik Leff, an American political scientist. She briefly described the history of Czechoslovakia from 1918 through 1989 and its 1993 breakup. Her main focus, however, was on the period from 1989 to 1996 in the two republics with respect to the evolution of political parties, the economic challenges, and the desire to join the European Union (EU). While recognizing the difficulties both countries faced, she remained cautiously optimistic about their future.

While Leff presented the first attempt at a broad comparative analysis of the new states, other Western scholars dug deeper into

I would like to thank Kevin Deegan-Krause for having critiqued and strengthened this introduction.

Carol Skalnik Leff, The Czech and Slovak Republics: Nation Versus State (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1997).

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