Havel praised, but also blamed

Slovak personalities remember the birthday of a politician who played a key role in the Velvet Revolution.

Václav HavelVáclav Havel (Source: TASR)

“We were lucky to have Václav Havel as president,” Slovak President Andrej Kiska told the Týždeň daily on the occasion of the unreached 80th birthday of the Czech writer, philosopher, political dissident, and statesman.

Born on October 5, 1936 in Prague, Havel served as the last president of Czechoslovakia and first president of the independent Czech Republic. He is considered one of the most important intellectuals of the 20th century. He died on December 18, 2011 at the age of 75.

“He was a person who not only clearly and uncompromisingly set moral values and he stuck to them, but he also had an impact on politics and what happened in our society,” Kiska said, adding that we miss such a personality.

Read also:How Havel changed my lifeRead more 

Most-Híd chair Béla Bugár called Havel a protector of the civic society during totalitarianism. After he was appointed president, he used words and compromises rather than power.

Read also:Václav Havel, Czechoslovakia's first post-communist president, dies Read more 

“With his character he contributed to an open and tolerant society in not only central, but the whole of Europe,” Bugár said, as quoted by the Denník N daily.

Sociologist and former prime minister Iveta Radičová has a similar opinion, and who recalled her discussions with Havel during her presidential campaign or when she served as the PM.

“Politics now desperately needs people who, similarly to Václav Havel, will fight against lies, falseness and corruption, and support values and morals in public life,” Radičová said, as quoted by the Sme daily.

František Šebej of Most-Híd considers Havel one of the people he has respected the most in his life.

“He is a symbol in many aspects – the symbol of the fight for freedom, intellectual honesty, and an educated, cultural and west-oriented Czechoslovakia,” Šebej said, as quoted by Denník N.

Some MPs, however, have a rather different approach to Havel, especially concerning his activities towards Slovakia. Andrej Hrnko of the Slovak National Party and Miroslav Číž of Smer, for example, say that his behaviour played a certain role in the break-up of Czechoslovakia, as reported by the Denník N.

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