Tattered Velvet: A Country Falls Apart

Tattered Velvet: A Country Falls Apart

Western media have dubbed Czechoslovakia’s breakup a no-fault divorce. Now the two newly elected protagonists, Vaclav Klaus, the prime minister of the Czech republic and architect of Czechoslovakia’s economic transformation, and Vladimir Mečiar, a former communist, now a nationalist and the prime minister of the Slovak republic, are sparring to shift the blame for the divorce on the other. In both parts of the country there remains a lingering affection for the old Czechoslovakia, a great deal of mutual good will and determination that all things be done decently and in order, but little will to seek another compromise. Ironically, the great achievement of Václav Havel’s velvet revolution may be that the breakup will be minimally disruptive and even amiable.

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