Essay about Post Communist Politics in Czech Republic

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Post Communist Politics in Czech Republic

Ten years after the revolution that brought down Communism in Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic is still plagued by Leninist legacies that prevent it from transitioning fully into a successful liberal democracy. On the superficial level, it appears as though the Czech Republic is progressing well into the realm of a viable democracy. Its economy, thanks to the liberal policies of Vaclav Klaus, is arguably one of the strongest in the region. Its constitution mandates the rule of law that was so lacking under the Soviet hegemony, and its President is a man that has been dubbed by many to be a “philosopher-king,” one which was expected to lead his country out of the moral decay of the
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It should first be noted that the dramatic change from a rigid Communist society to a Westernized state occurred a mere decade ago, and it should be expected that the virtues of liberal democracy have not been incorporated into the heart and mind of every Czech citizen. As Robert Zuzowski puts it, “change of habits lags behind institutional change - the iron law of social life.” 1 Zuzowski, Political Change in Eastern Europe since 1989 - pg. 101 After forty years of Communist rule where a strict dichotomy of the public and private sphere existed, it is easy to see how many are reluctant to take the plunge into the public sphere, especially since the elite structure is not conducive to popular participation. A recent study in the New Democracies Barometer found that widespread skepticism predominates of the fifteen institutions across nine Estern and Central European countries.2 journal of politics, may 1997 v59 n2 p418 (william mishler; richard rose) Even though the levels of trust varied amongst nations, the results clearly indicate the trend towards skepticism. Petr Bisek of Impuls 99, a public affairs and cultural lobby, recognizes the legacy of the Communist Party in the realm of public and political life, “People are skeptical and tend not to participate in public life because it makes no sense to them.”3 The Prague Post, November 17, 1999, velvet past, stormy future,

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