Velvet Revolution

Velvet Revolution ( Czech Sametová revoluce, Slovak Nežná revolúcia ) denotes the change of political system in Czechoslovakia from real socialism to democracy in November and December 1989. The term was chosen because of the change that took place within a few weeks, largely free of violence took place.

History and the beginning of the Revolution

Hungary had begun on May 2, 1989, to remove his Iron Curtain on the border with Austria. The Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party had abandoned its claim. In summer 1989, Hungary allowed the departure of many East Germans to West Germany.

In Prague up to 3500 GDR citizens had come to the site of the German Embassy in October 1989; a total of 17,000 people were allowed to emigrate to the West after negotiations. On 9 November 1989 Czechs and Slovaks were able to follow the fall of the Berlin Wall. In Poland, at that time already held office a government with the non-Communists Tadeusz Mazowiecki at the top, after it had taken place the first reasonably free election in the Eastern Bloc on June 4, 1989. On 12 November 1989, the incumbent since 1954, Communist Party leader Todor Zhivkov was overthrown in Bulgaria.

On November 16, 1989, a student demonstration was held in Bratislava. One days was in Prague later, on the 50th anniversary of the closure of Czech universities in 1939 and the International Day of Students, an approved student demonstration held, attended by 15,000 people. Here about 600 people were injured by the security forces, in contrast to Bratislava. The next day the Prague students called for an unlimited strike students; the actors of the Prague stages followed. These actions are generally seen as the beginning of the revolution. The symbol of the gentle resistance were keyrings. People wanted to usher in with its ringing over the heads of the key turning point.

Strikes and demonstrations

On November 19, 1989, as the mouthpiece of the strikers in the Czech Civic Forum ( Občanské fórum = OF) and in Slovakia the Public Against Violence ( VPN Verejnosť = proti násiliu ) in order to seek dialogue with the communist rulers.

From 20 November until the end of December attacked successively over the whole country demonstrations. On November 24, there were mass protests. The writer and civil rights activist Vaclav Havel and Alexander Dubček, party leader of the Prague Spring of 1968, spoke on Wenceslas Square to the protesters and demanding the resignation of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia Miloš Jakeš and the entire party leadership ( Politburo ). Jakeš came back the same day ( and was expelled from the party on December 5, 1989).

End of the dictatorship

On November 27, a nationwide two -hour general strike was held. On 28 November, negotiations between the Civic Forum and the Government began. The provision on the leading role of the Communist Party in the Constitution was subsequently canceled on 29 November. On 1 December was held in Bratislava a visited by tens of thousands ceremony held on the occasion of the changes. From 5 December, the barbed wire was removed on the border with Austria, from 11 December, the border defenses with Germany were removed.

On 10 December the Communist president, Gustav Husak appointed for the first time since 1948 the majority of non-communist government of national consent under Marián Čalfa after two early December ordered by him Governments had encountered resistance from the people. Foreign Minister of the new government was the civil service Jiří beer, Finance Minister Vaclav Klaus. After ordering this government Husak resigned on the same day; his successor as president Václav Havel.

On December 28, was the leading reform Communist from 1968, Alexander Dubček, was elected Speaker of Parliament, on 29 December 1989 he was elected the writer and dissident Vaclav Havel was elected president by the Communist deputies. In October, the communist prime minister Ladislav Adamec was planning a visit to Vienna Austrian journalists in Prague explains: For me, Havel is a zero. In January 1990, resigned numerous Communist deputy, whose followers mostly former members of the opposition were chosen so that the Communists in parliament from then on no longer a majority.