10 Years After The Reovlution

The so-called
"Velvet revolution " ended the communist control of
Czechoslovakia in late 1989. On November 17 the formal
government allowed a demonstration, where people
commemorated the 50th anniversary of a cruel suppression
of a student demonstration in German-occupied Prague.
However, history repeated itself and the students were
brutally beaten by police. As a result a large protest
movement developed. Demonstrations and strikes
occurred across the whole country under the leadership of
Obcanske forum, which was leaded by Vaclav Havel, a
dissident playwright and Charter 77 signer. Following the
political turmoil he became the new president of
Czechoslovakia. Ten years after the Velvet Revolution
many political and social changes have occurred within the
former Czechoslovakia. The first major change was the
peaceful split of the country to form two separate states,
the Czech Republic and Slovakia as we know it today.
Following this split much of the former communist
infrastructure was disbanded including many state run
industries in an attempt to make them more efficient and
encourage investment. Former communist legislation
preventing the freedom of speech was also passed out of
law allowing people to express their political views and
criticize government policies. For many people these
changes introduced a great improvement in their standard
of living. A wide variety of goods soon appeared in
privately run shops which previously had only been
available in western shops. People were also allowed to
travel freely, which had been banned under the communists
to prevent the breeding of discontent when people saw
what was available in other countries. The country also
prospered following increase foreign investment as western
companies keen to exploit new markets entered the
country for example the takeover of Skoda by the German
run Volkswagen. However, the Velvet revolution did have
some negative effects. The rationalization of state run
companies meant that many people were put out of work
as many companies closed down and others laid off people
in an attempt to become more efficient. The people also
experienced inflation in the price of goods and although
they could see a greater variety of products available in the
shops they could not actually afford to buy them. These
factors led to discontent among many people and a feeling
that things had been better under the communists.

Category: History