25 Years Later, Most Czechs and Slovaks Oppose Their Breakup

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Prague Morning

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In 2018 Czechs and Slovaks will jointly mark the centenary of the birth of independent Czechoslovakia, but also remember the Czecho-Slovak breakup. Research shows that it is not a fond memory for most.

Only 27 percent of Czechs and 35 percent of Slovaks now older than 43 years of age say they were in favour of the breakup, according to the survey by the Slovak think tank Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) and the Czech think tank Centre for the Research of Public Opinion (CVVM) conducted in October 2017. With the passage of time the opinion has only slightly shifted towards the positive: 46 percent of Czechs and 44 percent of Slovaks say they are in favor of the division nowadays.

But more than two-thirds of both Czechs and Slovaks have not gotten over the fact that they were not allowed to express their opinion on the matter back in the early nineties in a referendum vote.

The head of the federal parliament Jan Stránsky says a referendum was deemed too dangerous. “The worst thing that could have happened at the time was for one part of the country to say it wanted divorce and for the other to say the opposite. That could have led to the kind of crises we see abroad. I dare say the danger was so great it would not have stopped short of civil war.” 

In Slovakia the split, which took place at midnight as the country saw the New Year in, was welcomed with cheers and nationalist speeches. 

There was no cheering in the Czech Republic and quite a bit of nostalgia. Czech Television played the Czechoslovak national anthem for one last time at midnight and followed it up by playing the Czech national anthem alone right after.

Author: red

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