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Encyclopedia > Velvet Revolution
Non-violent protesters face armed policemen
Non-violent protesters face armed policemen

The "Velvet Revolution" (Czech: sametová revoluce, Slovak: nežná revolúcia) (November 16December 29, 1989) refers to a non-violent revolution in Czechoslovakia that saw the overthrow of the Communist government there;[1] it is seen as one of the most important of the Revolutions of 1989. Image File history File links Policemen_and_flowers. ... Image File history File links Policemen_and_flowers. ... is the 320th day of the year (321st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... Nonviolence (or non-violence), whether held as a moral philosophy or only employed as an action strategy, rejects the use of physical violence in efforts to attain social, economic or political change. ... For other uses, see Revolution (disambiguation). ... This article is about communism as a form of society and as a political movement. ... The Eastern Bloc prior to the political upheavals of 1989. ...


On November 17, 1989, a peaceful student demonstration in Prague was suppressed by riot police. That event sparked a series of popular demonstrations from November 19 to late December. By November 20 the number of peaceful protesters assembled in Prague had swelled from 200,000 the previous day to an estimated half-million. A two hour general strike, involving all citizens of Czechoslovakia, was held on November 27. 17 November is also the name of a Marxist group in Greece, coinciding with the anniversary of the Athens Polytechnic uprising. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... Students occupying Sheffield town hall over the introduction of higher education fees Student activism is work done by students to effect political, environmental, economic, or social change. ... For other uses, see Prague (disambiguation). ... French mobile gendarmes doing riot control. ... is the 323rd day of the year (324th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 324th day of the year (325th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... A general strike is a strike action by an entire labour force in a city, region or country. ... is the 331st day of the year (332nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


With the collapse of other Communist governments, and increasing street protests, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announced on November 28 that it would relinquish power and dismantle the single-party state. Barbed wire and other obstructions were removed from the border with West Germany and Austria in early December. On December 10, President Gustáv Husák appointed the first largely non-Communist government in Czechoslovakia since 1948, and resigned. Alexander Dubček was elected speaker of the federal parliament on December 28 and Václav Havel the President of Czechoslovakia on December 29, 1989. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, in Czech and in Slovak: Komunistická strana ÄŒeskoslovenska (KSÄŒ) was a political party in Czechoslovakia that existed between 1921 and 1992. ... is the 332nd day of the year (333rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... States in which the constitution mandates power to a sole party are colored brown. ... A selection of forms of barbed wire. ... is the 344th day of the year (345th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Gustáv Husák (January 10, 1913 in Dúbravka (today part of Bratislava, Slovakia) - November 18, 1991 in Bratislava) was a Slovak politician, president of Czechoslovakia and a long-term Communist leader of Czechoslovakia and of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and 1980s. ... Alexander Dubček (November 27, 1921 – November 7, 1992) was a Slovak politician and briefly leader of Czechoslovakia (1968-1969), famous for his attempt to reform the Communist regime (Prague Spring). ... is the 362nd day of the year (363rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Václav Havel, GCB, CC, (IPA: ) (born October 5, 1936 in Prague) is a Czech writer and dramatist. ... is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ...


In June 1990 the first democratic elections since 1946 were held in Czechoslovakia, resulting in the country's first completely non-Communist government in over forty years. 1990 is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Democracy (disambiguation). ... This article is about the political process. ... Year 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full 1946 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Contents

Political situation prior to the revolution

This article is part of the series
History of Czechoslovakia
Origins
(to 1918)
First Republic
(1918–1938)
Second Republic and World War II
(1938–1945)
Third Republic
(1945–1948)
Communist Era
(1948–1989)
Velvet Revolution and Democracy
(1989–1992)
Dissolution of Czechoslovakia
January 1, 1993

Czechoslovakia was ruled by the Communist Party from February 25, 1948. During this period of rule, there were no official opposition parties operating within the government. Dissidents (notably Charter 77) published home-made periodicals (samizdat), but they faced persecution by the secret police. Thus the general public was afraid to openly support them. A person could be dismissed from their job or school. A writer or filmmaker could have had his/her books or movies banned for having a "negative attitude towards the 'socialist' regime." This blacklisting also included categories such as: being a child of a former entrepreneur or non-Communist politician, having family members living in the West, having supported Alexander Dubček during the Prague Spring, opposing Soviet military occupation, promoting religion, boycotting rigged parliamentary elections, signing the Charter 77 or associating with those who did. These rules were easy to enforce as all schools, media and businesses belonged to the state and were under direct supervision and often were used as an accusatory weapon against political and social rivals. Image File history File links Czechoslovakia_COA_small_2. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918 was the culmination of the long struggle of the Czechs against their Austrian rulers and of the Slovaks against Hungarisation and their Hungarian rulers. ... Czechoslovakia in 1928 The independence of Czechoslovakia was proclaimed on October 28, 1918, by the Czechoslovak National Council in Prague. ... The Munich Agreement and the first Vienna Award After the Austrian Anschluss, Czechoslovakia was to become Hitlers next target. ... During World War II, Czechoslovakia disappeared from the map of Europe. ... // In February 1948, when the Communists definitively took power in Czechoslovakia, the country was declared a peoples republic — a preliminary step toward socialism and, ultimately, communism. ... // Main article: Velvet Revolution Although in March 1987 Gustáv Husák nominally committed Czechoslovakia to follow the program of perestroika, he nevertheless cautioned the party in October 1987 not to hasten solutions too quickly so as to minimize the risks that could occur. ... The dissolution of Czechoslovakia refers to the dissolution of the former country of Czechoslovakia into the nations of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which took effect on January 1, 1993. ... The Charter 77 (Charta 77 in Czech and in Slovak) was an informal civic initiative in Czechoslovakia from 1977 to 1992, named after the document Charter 77 from January 1977. ... Samizdat, book published by Pathfinder Press containing a collection of forbidden Trotskyist Samizdat texts. ... Alexander Dubček (November 27, 1921 – November 7, 1992) was a Slovak politician and briefly leader of Czechoslovakia (1968-1969), famous for his attempt to reform the Communist regime (Prague Spring). ... People in a café watch Soviet tanks roll past The Prague Spring (Czech: Pražské jaro, Slovak: Pražská jar, Russian: пражская весна) was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia starting January 5, 1968 when Alexander Dubček came to power, and running until August 20 of that year when the... The Charter 77 (Charta 77 in Czech and in Slovak) was an informal civic initiative in Czechoslovakia from 1977 to 1992, named after the document Charter 77 from January 1977. ...


This changed gradually after the introduction of Mikhail Gorbachev's policies of Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (restructuring) in 1985. The Czechoslovak Communist leadership verbally supported Perestroika, but did little to institute real changes. Speaking of the Prague Spring of 1968 was still taboo. In 1988 (see e.g. the Candle Demonstration) and 1989 the first anti-government demonstrations occurred; these were dispersed and its participants were repressed by the police. Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev[1] (Russian: , IPA: ; born 2 March 1931) is a Russian politician. ... //   (Russian: IPA: ) is politics of maximal openness, transparency of activity of all official (governmental) institutes, and freedom of information. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about the year. ... People in a café watch Soviet tanks roll past The Prague Spring (Czech: Pražské jaro, Slovak: Pražská jar, Russian: пражская весна) was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia starting January 5, 1968 when Alexander Dubček came to power, and running until August 20 of that year when the... Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Candle Demonstration (in Slovak sviečková demonÅ¡trácia) on 25 March 1988 in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia was the first mass demonstration of the 1980s against communist regime in Czechoslovakia. ...


The actual impetus for the revolution came not only from the developments in neighboring countries, but also in their own capital. The Czechs witnessed the drama in the "Prague Embassy" of West Germany, were thousands of East Germans were hiding, wearing down also the patience of the Czech authorities which gave in eventually, letting all East Germans travel directly to West Germany on 3 November without any prerequisite. Thus, it was the Czech authorities which broke the Iron Curtain for the neighboring East Germans, about two months after Hungary had done the same earlier. In the days to come, thousands of East Germans per day simply took a train to Prague, and from there to West Germany. On November 9, the Berlin Wall fell, removing the need for the detour. North side of German Embassy, partially hidden behind a scaffold North side of German Embassy, with the garden in which the refugees were camping The Embassy of Germany in Prague to the Czech Republic is located on Vlašska street, in Mala Strana, Prague, Czech Republic. ... Warsaw Pact countries to the east of the Iron Curtain are shaded red; NATO members to the west of it — blue. ...


By November 16, many neighboring countries of Czechoslovakia, except the Soviet Union, had begun to shed Communist rule, as the Berlin Wall fell on November 9. The citizens of Czechoslovakia could see all these events every day on TV (both foreign and domestic signals). The Soviet Union also supported a change in the ruling elite of Czechoslovakia, although it did not anticipate the overthrow of the Communist regime. East German construction workers building the Berlin Wall, November 20, 1961. ...


Chronology of the first week

  • Thursday November 16, 1989 – On the eve of International Students Day (the 50th anniversary of death of Jan Opletal, a Czech student murdered by the German occupiers during World War II), Slovak high school and university students organized a peaceful demonstration in the center of Bratislava. Since the Communist Party of Slovakia had expected troubles and since the mere fact that there was a demonstration was a problem in Communist countries, armed forces were at alert since before the demonstration. In the end, however, the students peacefully moved through the city and finally sent a delegation to the Slovak Ministry of Education to discuss their demands.
  • Friday November 17, 1989 – The Socialist Union of Youth (SSM/SZM, proxy of Communist Party of Czechoslovakia) organized a mass demonstration to commemorate International Students Day. Most members of SSM had privately been in opposition to the Communist leadership, but had been afraid of speaking up for fear of persecution. This demonstration gave average students an opportunity to join others and express their opinions without fear. By 16:00, about 15,000 people had joined the demonstration. They walked to Opletal's grave and - after the official end of the march - continued into downtown Prague (map), carrying banners and chanting anti-Communist slogans. At about 19:30, the demonstrators were stopped by a cordon of riot police at Národní Street. They had blocked all escape routes and beat the students. Once all the protesters were dispersed, one of the participants - secret police agent Ludvík Zifčák - kept lying on the street, posing as dead, and was later taken away. It is not clear why he did it, but the rumor of the "dead student" was perhaps critical for the shape of further events. Still in the evening, students and theater actors agreed on going on a strike.
  • Saturday November 18 -
    • Two students visited Prime Minister Ladislav Adamec in his private house and described to him what (really) happened at Národní Street.
    • At the initiative of students from the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, the students in Prague began a strike. Gradually, this strike was joined by university students throughout Czechoslovakia.
    • The students were supported by the theater employees and actors in Prague, both of whom had also gone on strike. Instead of playing, actors read a proclamation by the students and artists to the audience. Home-made posters and proclamations were being posted in public places. As all media (radio, TV, newspapers) were strictly controlled by the Communist Party (see Mass media in Communist Czechoslovakia), it was the only way to spread the message. In the evening, Radio Free Europe reported that a student (named as Martin Šmíd) was killed by the police during the previous day's demonstration. This persuaded some hesitating citizens to disregard fear and join the protests.
  • Sunday November 19 -
    • Theaters in Bratislava, Brno, Ostrava and other towns went also on strike, following the example of their colleagues from Prague. Members of artistic and literary associations as well as organizations and institutions joined the strikes.
    • Members of a civic initiative met with the Prime Minister who told them that he had been prohibited to resign from his post twice, and that if they wanted to achieve changes, there would have to be mass demonstrations like in East Germany (some 250,000 students). He also asked them to reduce the number of "casualties" during the expected changes to a minimum.
    • About 500 Slovak artists, scientists and leaders met at the Art Forum (Umelecká beseda) in Bratislava at 17:00. They denounced the attack against the students in Prague on November 17 and formed the Public Against Violence, which would become the leading force behind the opposition movement in Slovakia. Its founding members included Milan Kňažko, Ján Budaj and others.
    • Actors and members of the audience in a Prague theater, together with Václav Havel and other prominent members of Charter 77 and other dissident organizations, established the Civic Forum (Public Against Violence for the territory of the Czech Republic) as a mass popular movement for reforms, at 22:00. They called for the dismissal of top officials responsible for the violence, and an independent investigation of the incident and the release of all political prisoners. College students announced a strike. On TV, government officials called for peace and wanted to restore the city to normal business. The television aired an interview with Martin Šmíd to persuade the public that nobody had been killed; the quality of the recording was nevertheless low and rumors went on. It would take several more days to confirm that nobody had been killed - and by then, the revolution would have already gained momentum.
Wenceslas Monument
Wenceslas Monument
  • Monday November 20 -
    • Students and theaters were on permanent strike.
    • Civic Forum representatives negotiated with Prime Minister Ladislav Adamec without Václav Havel unofficially. Adamec was sympathetic to the students' demands. However, he was outvoted in a special cabinet meeting the same day and the government, in an official statement, refused to make any concessions. Civic Forum added another demand - the abolition of the "ruling position" of the Communist Party from the Constitution.
    • Non-Communist newspapers started publishing information, which contradicted the Communist interpretation.
    • First mass demonstration in Prague (100,000 people), first demonstrations in Bratislava.
  • Tuesday November 21 -
    • First official meeting of the Civic Forum with the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister said he would personally guarantee that no violence would be used against the people.
    • An organized mass demonstration took place in Wenceslas Square in downtown Prague (demonstrations were held there throughout the following days). Actors and students traveled to factories in and outside Prague to gain support for their colleagues in other cities.
    • A mass demonstration took places on Hviezdoslav Square in downtown Bratislava (for the next days, it moved to the Square of the Slovak National Uprising). The students presented various demands and asked the people to participate in the planned general strike for Monday, November 27. A separate demonstration demanding the release of the political prisoner Ján Čarnogurský (the later Prime Minister of Slovakia) took place in front of the Palace of Justice. Alexander Dubček delivered an address at this demonstration – his first appearance during the Velvet Revolution. As a result, Čarnogurský was released on November 23.
    • Demonstrations in all major cities of Czechoslovakia
    • Cardinal František Tomášek, the Catholic primate of the Czech lands, declared his support of the students, and issued a declaration in which he criticized the current government policies and their effect on all of Czechoslovakia.
    • For the first time during the Velvet Revolution, the "radical" demand to abolish the article of the Constitution establishing the "leading role" of the Communist Party was expressed by Ľubomír Feldek at a meeting of Public Against Violence. It was spontaneously supported by the popular demonstration on November 25 and finally accepted by the Communist Party of Slovakia on November 26.
    • In the evening, Milouš Jakeš, the chairman of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, held a special address on Federal Television. He said that order had to be preserved, that "socialism" was the only alternative for Czechoslovakia and criticized "groups" that stood behind the development in Czechoslovakia.
    • Governmental officials, especially the Head of the Communist Party Milouš Jakeš, kept their hard-line position and seemed increasingly out of touch. In the night, they had called 4,000 members of the "People's Militias" (Lidové milice, a paramilitary organization subordinated directly to the Communist Party) to Prague to crush the protests, but they were called off in the last moment.
  • Wednesday November 22
    • Civic Forum announced a two-hour general strike for Monday November 27.
    • First live reports from the demonstration in Wenceslas Square appeared on Federal Television (they were quickly cut off, once one of the participants denounced the present government in favor of Alexander Dubček).
    • Striking students force the representatives of the Slovak government and of the Communist Party of Slovakia to participate in a dialogue, in which the official representatives were immediately put on the defensive.
    • Employees of the Slovak section of the Federal Television required the leaders of the Federal Television to provide true information on the events in the country, otherwise they would initiate a strike of TV employees. Uncensored live reports from demonstrations in Bratislava followed.
  • Thursday November 23 -
    • Evening news showed how factory workers heckled Miroslav Štěpán, the Prague Communist Secretary, who was popularly viewed as the most loathed politician in the country. The military informed the Communist leadership of its readiness to act (ultimately, it was never used against demonstrators).
    • The military and the Ministry of Defense were preparing for actions against the opposition. Immediately after the meeting, however, the Minister of Defense delivered a TV address, in which he said the army would never undertake action against the Czechoslovak people and called to an end of the demonstrations.
  • Friday November 24 -
    • Milouš Jakeš was replaced by puppet politician Karel Urbánek as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.
    • Federal Television showed pictures from November 17 for the first time and the first television address of Václav Havel, dealing mostly with the planned general strike. Czechoslovak TV and Radio announced that they would join the general strike.
    • A discussion with representatives of the opposition was broadcast by the Slovak section of the Federal Television. It was the first free discussion on Czechoslovak television since its beginnings. As a result, the editorial staff of Slovak newspapers started to join the opposition.
  • Saturday November 25 -
    • The new Communist leadership held a press conference. It had immediately lost credibility by keeping Miroslav Štěpán, leaving Ladislav Adamec out and not addressing any of the demands. Later that day, Štěpán resigned from his position as the Prague Secretary.
    • The number of participants in the regular anti-governmental demonstration in Prague reached an estimated 800,000 people. Demonstrations in Bratislava had the highest number of participants at around 100,000.
  • Sunday November 26 -
    • Prime Minister Ladislav Adamec met with Václav Havel for the first time.
    • The editorial staff of Slovakia's Pravda, the central newspaper of the Communist Party of Slovakia, joined the opposition.
  • Monday November 27 -
    • A two-hour general strike takes place throughout the country between 12:00 and 14:00, supported by a reported 75% of population. The Ministry of Culture released anti-Communist literature for public checkouts in libraries, which effectively ended censorship.

This concluded the "popular" phase of the revolution, with many public demonstrations. The following victories, though supported by the strike students and actors lasting until December 29, were achieved mainly through negotiations between the governments, the Civic Forum and Public Against Violence. is the 322nd day of the year (323rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Ladislav Adamec was a Czechoslovakian Communist political figure. ... The Academy of Performing Arts in Prague is a university level school of music, dance, drama, film, TV and multi-media studies. ... Control As in all East European communist countries, the mass media in Czechoslovakia was controlled by the Communist party (KSÄŒ). Private ownership of any publication or agency of the mass media was generally forbidden, although churches and other organizations published small periodicals and newspapers. ... Cover of Radio Liberty booklet The Most Important Job in the World Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a radio and communications organization which is funded by the United States Congress. ... is the 323rd day of the year (324th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Nickname: Location of Bratislava within Slovakia Coordinates: , Country Region Districts Bratislava I-V City subdivisions 17 city boroughs Cadastral areas 20 cadastral areas First mentioned 907 Government  - Type City council  - Mayor (Primátor) Andrej ÄŽurkovský  - Headquarters Primates Palace Area [1]  - City 367. ... Coordinates: Country Czech Republic Region South Moravia Founded 1146 Area  - city 230. ... Czech Republic Moravian-Silesian Ostrava 23  - Moravská Ostrava a Přívoz  - Hošťálkovice  - Hrabová  - Ostrava-Jih  - Krásné Pole  - Lhotka  - Mariánské Hory a Hulváky  - Martinov  - Michálkovice  - Nová BÄ›lá  - Nová Ves  - PetÅ™kovice  - Plesná  - Polanka nad Odrou  - Poruba  - Proskovice  - Pustkovec  - Radvanice a Bartovice  - Stará BÄ›lá  - Slezsk... The Public Against Violence (Slovak: VerejnosÅ¥ proti násiliu, VPN) was a political movement that was established in Bratislava, Slovakia on 20 November 1989. ... Milan Kňažko (born 28 August 1945 in Horné Plachtince ) is a former Slovak politician and actor. ... Václav Havel, GCB, CC, (IPA: ) (born October 5, 1936 in Prague) is a Czech writer and dramatist. ... The Charter 77 (Charta 77 in Czech and in Slovak) was an informal civic initiative in Czechoslovakia from 1977 to 1992, named after the document Charter 77 from January 1977. ... Logo Civic Forum (Czech: Občanské fórum - OF) was a political party in the Czech part of Czechoslovakia set up after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. ... A political prisoner is someone held in prison or otherwise detained, perhaps under house arrest, because their ideas or image are deemed by a government to either challenge or threaten the authority of the state. ... Image File history File links Prague_November89_-_Wenceslas_Monument. ... Image File history File links Prague_November89_-_Wenceslas_Monument. ... is the 324th day of the year (325th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 325th day of the year (326th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Statue of Hviezdoslav Hviezdoslavovo námestie (literally Hviezdoslav Square) is one of the most known squares in Bratislava. ... The Square of the Slovak National Uprising is an area in central Banska Bystrica, Slovakia. ... Ján ÄŒarnogurský (born January 1, 1944, Bratislava - ) is a former Slovak politician, a former Prime Minister of Slovakia (1991-1992) and the former chairman of the Christian Democratic Movement (1990-2002). ... For other uses, see Cardinal (disambiguation). ... Cardinal FrantiÅ¡ek Tomášek (born June 30, 1899 in Studénka in Moravia, died August 4, 1992 Prague in Czechoslovakia) was a significant dignitary of the Roman Catholic Church in Bohemia, was the 34th archbishop of Prague, a Roman Catholic theologian. ... Ľubomír Feldek (* 9 October 1936, Žilina, Czechoslovakia) is a Slovak poet, writer, playwright, and translator. ... MilouÅ¡ JakeÅ¡ on communist partys May 1st, 2006 MilouÅ¡ JakeÅ¡ (born August 12, 1922 in ÄŒeské Chalupy near ÄŒeské BudÄ›jovice) was General Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from 1987 until 1989. ... Peoples Militias (in Czech Lidové milice, in Slovak Ľudové milície) was a paramilitary organisation of Communist Party of Czechoslovakia during 1948 - 1989. ... is the 326th day of the year (327th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 327th day of the year (328th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 328th day of the year (329th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... MilouÅ¡ JakeÅ¡ on communist partys May 1st, 2006 MilouÅ¡ JakeÅ¡ (born August 12, 1922 in ÄŒeské Chalupy near ÄŒeské BudÄ›jovice) was General Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia from 1987 until 1989. ... Karel Urbánek is a former railway station Bojkovice manager who was a Secretary General of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia during the Velvet Revolution, between November and December 1989. ... is the 329th day of the year (330th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 330th day of the year (331st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Pravda (the Slovak word for Truth) is a major newspaper in Slovakia. ... is the 331st day of the year (332nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Censor. ...


Key events of the following weeks

  • November 29 - Parliament, still dominated by the Communists, removed the article guaranteeing a leadership role to the Communist Party and Marxism-Leninism as a state ideology from the Constitution. The speaker of the federal Parliament resigned.
  • November 30
    • Education in Marxism-Leninism and the history of international workers' movement officially cancelled for universities and colleges.
    • The Presidium of the Slovak parliament (Slovak National Council) resigned. It was gradually replaced by non-Communists.
    • The federal government decided that barbed wire should be removed at the border with Austria (later also at the border with West Germany), and that Czechoslovak citizens do not need "exit visa permits" anymore when travelling abroad. Barbed wire at the border with Austria was removed from December 1.
  • December 3 - President Gustáv Husák nominated a new federal cabinet, headed by Ladislav Adamec. It had 15 Communist and only 5 non-Communist ministers (so called "15:5 government") and was rejected by the Civic Forum and public demonstrators.
  • December 4 - Government announced freedom to travel to Austria (later to all countries). It was no longer necessary to apply for any documents before traveling to Austria. The following weekend, 250,000 people would visit this country. A permanent queue of cars reaching from the city center of Bratislava to the border crossing with Austria will arise.
  • December 6 – Most members of the government of the Czech lands were replaced by non-Communists. František Pitra remains Prime Minister of the Czech government.
  • December 8 – President Gustáv Husák declared amnesty on political crimes.
  • December 10 :
    • President Gustáv Husák nominated a federal cabinet, headed by Marián Čalfa, based on an agreement between Civic Forum and the Communists, and resigns. It was the first federal government since 1948 in which the Communists had no majority.
    • Strike of theaters was called off, but students stayed on. Secret police burned their files (incomplete files, insufficient to convincingly prove or disprove collaboration, caused embarrassment to many public figures in the following decade).
    • 100,000 people participated in a protest walk from Bratislava, Czechoslovakia to Hainburg, Austria.
  • December 11- Czechoslovakian border fortifications removed from borders with West Germany
  • December 12 - Slovakia received a new government headed by Milan Čič. It was the first government of Slovakia since 1969 in which the Communists had no majority.
  • December 14 - Tomáš J. Baťa, son of a famous Czech entrepreneur Tomáš Baťa and a president of Bata Shoes, arrived in Czechoslovakia, from Canada. He was given a warm welcome by the population. His company had been a symbol of old Czech industrial traditions and entrepreneurship, which were suppressed by the Communists.
  • December 21 - The People's Militia was abolished, and their weapons confiscated by the army. Later on it was established that the militia had operated against the law throughout the whole Communist era from 1948.
  • December 22 – The Civic Forum, Public Against Violence, Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and representatives of students and other political entities agreed that Alexander Dubček would be made speaker of the federal parliament, while Václav Havel would be made President of the Republic.
  • December 28 - Federal Parliament, still consisting of Communist deputies coming from rigged one-candidate elections of 1986, passed a law allowing for co-optation of new personalities. Several non-Communists became deputies this way. This reform of the Parliament "from inside" was orchestrated by Prime Minister Marián Čalfa and helped re-establish legitimacy of the Parliament immediately without the need to call elections (which took place in June 1990). Alexander Dubček was elected Chairman (speaker) the same day.
  • December 29 - Federal Parliament elected Václav Havel as President. The irony of the situation was that Havel, a former dissident, was "freely" elected President by the Communist deputies, who would have endorsed his imprisonment only a few days before.

Students subsequently ended their strike. The Velvet Revolution ended. is the 333rd day of the year (334th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Vladimir Lenin in 1920 Leninism is a political and economic theory which builds upon Marxism; it is a branch of Marxism (and it has been the dominant branch of Marxism in the world since the 1920s). ... is the 334th day of the year (335th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Vladimir Lenin in 1920 Leninism is a political and economic theory which builds upon Marxism; it is a branch of Marxism (and it has been the dominant branch of Marxism in the world since the 1920s). ... The National Council of the Slovak Republic (in Slovak: Národná rada Slovenskej republiky, often just: Národná rada) (NR SR) has been the name of the parliament of Slovakia since 1993 (more precisely since 1 October 1992). ... is the 337th day of the year (338th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 338th day of the year (339th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 340th day of the year (341st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... František Pitra was the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic (then part of Czechoslovakia) from October 11, 1988 through February 6, 1990. ... is the 342nd day of the year (343rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 344th day of the year (345th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Marián Čalfa Marián Čalfa (born on 7 May 1946 in Trebišov) was a Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia during and after the Velvet Revolution, and a key facilitator of smooth power transfer from the Communists to a new democratic representation. ... December 11 is the 345th day of the year (346th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... A preserved East German watchtower on the former border near Hof, Bavaria, close to the Czech Republic, serving as example The border of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (CSSR) to Western Europe, mainly to NATO-member Federal Republic of Germany (less so to neutral Austria), was during the Cold War until... is the 346th day of the year (347th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 348th day of the year (349th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Thomas J. Bata was born in 1914 in the Moravian village of Zlín, in what is now the Czech Republic, to Czech industrialist Tomás Bata. ... Tomáš Baťa (born April 3, 1876 in Zlín, Moravia - July 12, 1932) was the founder of Bata Shoe Organization, one of the worlds biggest multinational retailer, manufacturer and distributor of footwear and accessories. ... Logo Bata Shoes (in Czech Baťa, also Baťovy závody) is a large, family owned shoe company. ... is the 355th day of the year (356th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 356th day of the year (357th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 362nd day of the year (363rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1986 (MCMLXXXVI) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link displays 1986 Gregorian calendar). ... is the 363rd day of the year (364th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


In December and the following months, the Communist Party lost much of its membership (especially those who joined it only as a vehicle for promoting their business, academic, or political career). The federal parliament introduced key laws for promoting civil rights, civil liberties, and economic freedom. The first free elections were scheduled for June 1990. Problematic events included the first parliamentary deadlock, caused by Czechs and Slovaks disagreeing over the name of the state (see Dash War, the first step towards a Dissolution of Czechoslovakia). Nasty accusations of collaboration with Communist secret police (relying on incomplete documents, as some files were burned in December 1989) were rampant. Sadly, an increase in crime took place, due to low morale and a lack of public trust for the police. An extensive general pardon by the new president Havel (who in effect released all petty criminals from jails) exacerbated this problem. The Dash War (in Czech Pomlčková válka, in Slovak Pomlčková vojna) was the tongue-in-cheek name given to the conflict over how to call Czechoslovakia after the fall of Communism. ... The dissolution of Czechoslovakia refers to the dissolution of the former country of Czechoslovakia into the nations of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which took effect on January 1, 1993. ...


Open questions

Not all events of the Velvet revolution have been satisfactorily explained. For over a decade conspiracy theorists tried to portray it as a result of a plot by StB, KGB, reformists among party members or Gorbachev. By these theories the Communist party only transformed its power into other, less visible forms and still controls the society. Later, demand for such theories has decreased. For other uses, see Conspiracy theory (disambiguation). ... STB is an acronym that can stand for: set-top box, a television device that converts signals to viewable images The United States Surface Transportation Board, the successor to the Interstate Commerce Commission The StB, the secret police in Communist Czechoslovakia a graphics card manufacturer, see STB Systems The Bachelor... This article is about the KGB of the Soviet Union. ... Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev[1] (Russian: , IPA: ; born 2 March 1931) is a Russian politician. ...


The most contentious points were:

  • It is not clear to what extent it was spontaneous vs. orchestrated by the secret police. For example, the incident with the "dead student" was staged by secret police provocateur Ludvík Zifčák, assisted with other secret agents (those who took him to hospital and initially disseminated the rumor). Zifčák is currently a chairman of "Communist Party of Czechoslovakia", a non-parliamentary group willing to re-establish a Communist regime, with popular support below 1%, and rejects all inquiries relating to his role in the revolution.
  • Army and People's Militia were ready to attack the demonstrators, but did not get the order.
  • Secret police carried out surveillance on all the leaders of the revolution and had the ability to arrest them. However, they did not do so and let the revolution progress.
  • A Soviet military advisor was present in the control center of the police force, which beat the demonstrators on November 17. Supposedly, he did not intervene, but his role is not clear either.

Generally, it is assumed that there was a split between different factions of the Communist leadership (namely, reform Communists anxious to replace those afraid of any change) and some of them tried to use the popular unrest to promote their agendas – ultimately ending the Communist rule.


The term

The term Velvet Revolution was coined by a journalist after the first events and it caught on in world media and eventually in Czechoslovakia. The media, riding on an infotainment wave, saw this success and started the tradition of inventing and assigning a poetic name to similar events – see color revolution. Infotainment (a portmanteau of information and entertainment) refers to a general type of media broadcast program which provides a combination of current events news and feature news, or features stories. Infotainment also refers to the segments of programming in television news programs which overall consist of both hard news segments... Color revolutions or Flower revolutions are the names given collectively to a series of related movements that developed in post-communist societies in Central and Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, and are possibly spreading elsewhere including some places in the Middle East. ...


In Slovakia, however, the revolution's name from the beginning of the events has been the Gentle Revolution because there was no blood spilled and no one got hurt. (Nežná revolúcia).


References

  1. ^ http://archiv.radio.cz/history/history15.html

See also

Logo Civic Forum (Czech: Občanské fórum - OF) was a political party in the Czech part of Czechoslovakia set up after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. ... The Public Against Violence (Slovak: Verejnosť proti násiliu, VPN) was a political movement that was established in Bratislava, Slovakia on 20 November 1989. ... The Eastern Bloc prior to the political upheavals of 1989. ... The dissolution of Czechoslovakia refers to the dissolution of the former country of Czechoslovakia into the nations of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which took effect on January 1, 1993. ...

External links

  • Velvet Revolution on totalita.cz Detailed day-to-day history with key documents quoted (in Czech language only). Shortened version was used as a source for Chronology above.
  • Velvet Revolution on Prague-life A shortened version of the Velvet Revolution.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Velvet Revolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3204 words)
Cardinal František Tomášek, the Catholic primate of the Czech lands, declared his support of the students, and issued a declaration in which he criticized the situation in all social spheres of Czechoslovakia.
For the first time during the Velvet Revolution, the "radical" demand to abolish the article of the Constitution establishing the "leading role" of the Communist Party was expressed by Ľubomír Feldek at a meeting of Public Against Violence.
The term Velvet Revolution was coined by a journalist after the first events and it caught on in world media and eventually in Czechoslovakia.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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