Tuesday, 9 October 2018

LN: Czech society feeling nostalgia for Communism

17 October 2017

Prague, Oct 16 (CTK) - The opinion has prevailed in Czech society that not everything was bad in the previous, Communist regime and that the new one has serious mistakes, Mlejnek writes in Lidove noviny (LN) on Monday.

Since 1990, warning of Communism was an indispensable part of every election campaign, but this has all but vanished, giving way to warnings of ANO leader Andrej Babis and populist leader Tomio Okamura, Mlejnek writes.

For a part of Czech society, Babis is simply an agent of the Communist secret police StB, with the codename Bures whatever may be the rulings of Slovak courts in this respect. However, another segment of the society evidently does not resent his connection with the secret police very much, he adds.

For Okamura, Brussels, Islam and migrants are the main enemies, but in 2012, as a presidential candidate, he denoted Communism, in its specific form of the Paris Commune, as the most democratic system, Mlejnek writes.

Whenever it seemed to Social Democrats (CSSD) in the past years that thanks to the election result they could rule along with the Communists, their leaders started disputing the party's resolution from 1995 which bans the alliance.

In the 1990s, this would have been impossible.

Even moderate anti-Communism is no longer fashionable, or, to put it more exactly, it is still only alive among educated urban voters, being echoed in their opposition to President Milos Zeman, Mlejnek writes.

Zeman's close ties with and sympathies for China and Russia are also perceived as a swing to the Communist past or to "the East." This is also described as a "Velvet counter-revolution" that is to drive the nation out of Western structures and of its pro-Western orientation, Mlejnek writes.

On the face of it, the weakening resistance to the previous regime and its legacy may seem quite natural. Simply, as the time passes and new generations that did not live in their adult age during the Communist era or did not experience it at all, the shadow of the "hammer and sickle" is fading away.

However, there are some "ifs" and "buts" questoning this interpretation. The described affair has primarily the form of erasing the distance between the Communist and postcommunist regimes.

Not everything was bad in the past regime, while the new one also has serious mistakes. This view is mostly expressed by those who really lived to see the previous regime, Mlejnek writes.

A certain nostalgia for the Communist era can also be seen in the wave of various "retro products," offered by supermarkets. In fact, the blunted critical edge aimed at Communism or even nostalgia for it are mostly a disguised form of disenchantment with the current state of affairs, he adds.

The Czech Republic is facing a remarkable paradox. Czechs are living in the most prosperous era of their history, but also in an era burdened with frustration and fear, Mlejnek writes.

There is no silent majority. However, there is a majority stressed by the social and economic pressure on performance, the fight for a higher place on the social ladder, the fear of a disease, an unpaid mortgage and lately also of the flood of Muslim migrants, he adds.

Such a society can be easily dominated by marketing and populist slogans because there is no cement and no deep anchoring in it, Mlejnek writes.

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