Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

Velvet Revolution commemorated

IN 1989 unity was one of the characteristic feelings on the squares of Czech and Slovak towns during the Velvet Revolution. Two decades later, Slovak public and political life seems far from that ideal – as the celebrations of 20 years of freedom have shown.

IN 1989 unity was one of the characteristic feelings on the squares of Czech and Slovak towns during the Velvet Revolution. Two decades later, Slovak public and political life seems far from that ideal – as the celebrations of 20 years of freedom have shown.

The official event to commemorate the anniversary was held in the new building of the Slovak National Theatre and organised by the speaker of parliament, Pavol Paška. Speakers included leaders of the revolution such as former students Zuzana Mistríková and Filip Vagač, and former dissidents František Mikloško, Martin Bútora and Ján Čarnogurský. The speaker of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, also delivered a speech. Paška was criticised for having also invited speakers who were connected with the Communist regime, such as former president Rudolf Schuster and Communist Party justice minister and Slovak prime minister after November 1989 Milan Čič.

Six representatives of the Christian-Democratic Movement (KDH) who attended the celebrations walked out of the room before Čič and Schuster spoke. Opposition parties held a separate event in the historical building of the Slovak National Theatre.

Prime Minister Robert Fico spent part of November 17 on an official visit to London, where he also delivered a lecture at University College London. He was earlier criticised for leaving the country on such a day.

Many plaques were unveiled, concerts and commemorative events were organised all around Slovakia. In Bratislava, the 20th anniversary of the revolution was also marked by an international conference, the Central European Forum, where former president Václav Havel spoke to the Slovak public.


Top stories

Gilden: Take the negative and make a positive from it Photo

The works of New York native, photographer Bruce Gilden, who has worked for five decades in the streets of the biggest cities, are on exhibit in the Kunsthalle (House of Arts) in Bratislava.

Bruce Gilden: Feast of San Gennero, Little Italy, 1984.

The ongoing struggle for a free and democratic Slovakia

The people of Slovakia deserve the credit for the remarkable progress that this country has made over the past twenty-five years, US ambassador writes.

Illustrative stock photo

Foreigners: Top 10 events in Bratislava Video

Tips for the top 10 events in the capital between November 24 and December 3, plus regular services in different languages, training, temporary exhibitions and highlights of the year.

Christmas Markets Bratislava

Robert Fico has lost the electoral magic he once had Plus

But his party can still bounce back if they do the things that make parties resilient.

Robert Fico claims that Smer won the regional elections because it is the party with the most chairs in regional councils.