Czech politicians commemorate anniversary of Václav Havel's death

The anti-communist leader played an essential role in Czechia’s transition to democracy.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 19.12.2022 12:04:00 (updated on 19.12.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Sunday marked 11 years since the passing of one of the most prominent and influential figures in modern Czech history, Václav Havel. His legacy of leading the Czech Republic out of communism continues to be felt strongly to this day, a fact emphasized by politicians nationwide who paid tribute to the former Czech president.

The last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of an independent Czech Republic, Havel’s political activism during the communist regime was instrumental in returning democracy to the Czech Republic in the 1990s. 

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala, who a few days ago unveiled a street in Luxembourg bearing Havel’s name, wrote that the latter’s ideas “still inspire all those who fight for freedom and oppose the evils of totalitarian regimes.”

Prominent anti-communist figure

Havel was a founding member of the anti-regime Charter 77 and spent several stints in prison due to his criticism of the communist regime.

His Western outlook and staunch advocacy of democracy helped the Czech Republic become an important voice among Western global powers. Chamber of Deputies Speaker Markéta Pekarová Adamová noted that Havel had “a lot to do with the fact Czechia is a solid part of NATO and the EU, which ensures our safety,” writes. 

During his presidency, Havel played a central role in NATO’s eastward expansion. He strongly encouraged former Warsaw Pact countries to join the bloc in the 1990s.


Interior Minister Vit Rakušan noted Havel’s widespread reach, saying that the former Czech leader is missed “not only by the Czechs, but by the whole world.”

Havel had established the Civic Forum party in November 1989, which played a crucial role in overthrowing the Communist Party.

In 1996 Havel established the Forum 2000 foundation, which has been organizing an annual conference in Prague that features “prominent thought leaders, Nobel laureates, former and acting politicians, business leaders and other individuals, whose common denominative is experience with bearing responsibility.”

Presidential candidates pay their respects

Former army general and presidential candidate Petr Pavel notably referenced the ongoing presidential campaign when paying tribute to Havel, writing that the former president reminds Pavel of the current Hungarian opposition. “They [Hungary’s opposition parties] are fighting against lies, injustice, and for democracy,” he wrote yesterday.

Presidential candidate Danuše Nerudová tweeted she was “glad that the values he fought for in his life did not disappear from our society,” quoting the ability to help others and fighting injustice. 

Pavel Fischer, an outsider in the upcoming presidential election, worked directly with Havel, noting he “got to know him as a person who was able to analyze events and situations with unprecedented precision.”

The widespread commemoration of the former president from senior politicians and the public alike exemplifies his enduring impact.

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