2015

2014

The Czech Culture of Corruption

The Czech playwright and dissident Vaclav Havel popularized the notion of “living in truth.” He was dismayed at the degree to which lies had permeated Czechoslovak society under Communism. It wasn’t only government and Party officials who lied about history, the economy, the state of human rights, the opposition Charter 77 movement, and so on.… Continue reading The Czech Culture of Corruption

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2013

Pushing Boundaries

Approaching 1989, the Communist governments in East-Central Europe were like the residents of a continuing care facility. Some governments – in Czechoslovakia, for instance – appeared to be very sturdy and, although quite elderly, were capable of living independently for some time. Others, as in Poland, were already in assisted care, needing the help of… Continue reading Pushing Boundaries

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Inside Outsiders

In explaining the fall of Communism, most analysts talk about pressure from the inside (dissidents) coupled with pressure from the outside (Gorbachev, Reagan). But equally important were the inside-outsiders.  These were people from the region who found themselves in other countries as a result of war, uprising, or other dislocations. The Hungarian-born financier George Soros… Continue reading Inside Outsiders

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