If conspiracies are real, they are planned and carefully executed logistical operations. And logistical operations are much easier to trace than "conspiracies."
Jaroslav Jiru, a Czech political observer, noted the seemingly strange convergence of former Communist intellectuals into the ardent advocates of the demise of Czechoslovakia who demonstrated this "easiness of negative being" exemplified by Otta Urban, a former Marxist historian who became after 1989 a head of the department of Czech and Slovak history at Charles University in Prague. Jiru remarked with astonishment: "now the Bolshevik experiment comes to an end, so, according to Urban's reasoning, the Czechoslovak republic should end together with it too ... Well, how easy it is to shift from Marx and Lenin to St. Wenceslav and Emil Hacha!"
The Czech Question: Cycles of Continuity and Discontinuity
Czech history in the XXth-century reveals a striking pattern of breaks in continuity falling on years ending with the number eight, as if the magic 'eight' were an iron law in modern Czech politics. The Czechoslovak state was founded in 1918 after the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire that had been unable to respond to the democratic striving of the XXth century. The Munich 'deal' of 1938 handed over Czechoslovakia as a 'peacemaking' present to insatiable German fascism, whose appetite thereby only increased. In 1948, Czechoslovakia was conquered by communism and became a strategic European outpost and (convertible) asset of Russia. The year 1968 was marked by the Prague Spring experiment and the Warsaw Block invasion. The 'Velvet' Revolution '89 was viewed as having turned the Prague Spring '68 upside down - thus, missing the magic 'eight' by one year.
Under closer scrutiny, the years 1918, 1938, 1948, 1968 and 1989 reveal a certain gradation of discontinuities, with the year 1918 marking the culmination of the Czech national efforts which materialized with the founding of the Czechoslovak Republic, which was however dissolved 'from above' seventy four years later. Taking into consideration the demise of the Czechoslovak federal state in 1992, the sequence of these discontinuities, mostly falling coincidentally on years ending with an 'eight', does show one pervading counter-movement running against the democratic aspirations of the Czechs and their self-determination. As a result, the modern ethos has always been a crucial part of European peace and security. Both the beginning of the Czech state and its second life came about as a result of two World Wars. International factors were both at the roots of these discontinuities, as well as decisive elements in their outcomes. Despite (or rather because of) such cyclical discontinuities, the Czechoslovak/Czech statehood is said to have always followed the 'protectorate' model imposed by a foreign power, and some of the historic breaks (1938, 1948, 1968, 1992) are seen as a recurring specter of Munich.
The notion of political cycles in Central European history has undoubtedly played an important role in the studies of academic theoreticians, as well as in the strategic concepts of political actors. It is evident that, perhaps because of the strongly developed historic conscience in Central Europe, the local elites seem to be keen on using the historic contexts to their own advantage. Therefore, the crucial events 'coincidentally' falling on historic anniversaries and the mobilization of the power of old symbols are relatively abundant, especially with regard to the Czechs. Demonstrations of opposition against the previous Communist regime, as a rule, were held on various anniversaries; the Velvet Revolution began with a manifestation on November 17, 1989 in memory of events in 1939; the last Communist President G. Husak resigned on the Day of Human Rights, on December 10, 1989; the very first place officially visited by Havel (on his very first working day) was not Bratislava, but Munich, on January 2, 1990; German President Richard von Weizsaker was invited to Prague on March 15, 1990 - on March 15, 1939, Czechoslovakia was broken up and occupied by Hitler; V. Havel called on the Slovaks to make their "unique historic decision" on March 14, 1991 - on March 14, 1939, Slovakia declared independence under Hitler's auspices and became a clerical-fascist state; Havel created the post of Chancellor in his office (held by an Austrian citizen, count Schwarzenberg) - such a post existed in the past only once, during World War II "Protectorate of Böhmen and Mähren;" in this way Czechoslovak statehood was supposed to be "elevated" and "its best traditions" were to be "renewed." Coincidentally, in early 1998, Havel's present tenure is to expire. Notably, Havel, especially his public image, has been seen as one the greatest assets in this remaking of Central Europe.
Assuming here that answers about the future are usually to be found in the past, what is the past of our (momentarily missing) future? Where does the past lead? Evidently, no exclusive answer can be given provided, of course, that history has not ended. At least, we can attempt to elucidate existent dangers and possibilities by analyzing the origins and preceding evolution of nihilistic tendencies.
Birth of Contemporary Böhmisch Nihilism and Its Continuous Negative Progression (1918-1989)
The renewal of Czech statehood in the form of Czechoslovakia on October 28, 1918, which also provided a basis for the assertion of Slovak self-being (svébytnost), provided a chance for a new positive revitalization of the region of Central Europe. Today, it can be said that twenty years of the democratic republic of Czechoslovakia are with regard to their positive significance well above any other subsequent period in modern Czech history. From the point of view of nihilism, it is consequently praised as an adverse "anomaly." Notably, except for fascizoid Henlein's party of Sudeten Germans, which was from 1935 onwards on the payroll of Hitler's Reich, it was the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia that was for most of its pre-World-War-II history the only political force with an openly nihilistic standpoint towards Czechoslovak statehood and any change in this course occurred only as a result of an order from the Comintern, respectively from Moscow. So, for example, Vaclav Kopecky, one of the then Communist leader, declared on March 27, 1931 in the parliament: "The Czech nation cannot be free as long as Czechoslovakia exists." This line was imposed on the Czechoslovak Communist party together with its so-called bolshevization starting from 1923 that coincided with Stalin becoming the leader of the Communist party in the Soviet Union and removal of former Communist "idealists." From July 1928, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was already firmly under a dictate of Moscow, thus, becoming effectively a forward outpost of foreign interests. After the "bolshevization" of the party had been completed in 1929, the party highest organ, the politburo, began working exclusively in German. All this, however, meant that the party underwent a radical change of its identity: since October 1927 until the first half of 1930, the membership of the party fell from 130,000 roughly to 30,000. Still, in 1935, when the immediate threat of Fascism was already more than obvious, the Communist party was distributing leaflets with a slogan 'Not a penny for the army'." Only when this nihilism receded into the background, could the Communist party expand again.
The existence of Czechoslovakia as an independent and democratic state was then interrupted by the notorious Munich deal of 1938 which was an overture to world conflagration. Several moments are here noteworthy, especially with regard to contemporary developments. In this way, they pertain to our notion of the continuity of anti-Czech nihilism. As John W.Wheeler-Benne put it, for Mr. Chamberlain, one of the men of the Munich deal perceived the Czechs as a remaining "stumbling-block" which had nearly prevented his agreement with Hitler and, thus, an arrangement of a new order in Europe. In this way, the disintegration and demise of Czechoslovakia, similarly some fifty-four years later, was portrayed by its protagonists as something "almost inevitable." The Munich deal also provided an outlet for a more aggressive articulation and support of inner nihilism and self-denial whose arguments almost literally were taken over about forty years later by the advocates of the current anti-Czech nihilistic program. The essence of this re-emerging nihilism was well summarized by Vaclav Cerny in his memoirs: it was a spirit of defeatism; the Munich tragedy was presented as if a "deserved punishment for [Czech] megalomania":
All that the First Republic embodied, her self-conscious pride, her world ambitions, were all of sudden a mistake. All the national pettiness, lack of confidence, scrub humbleness before force were almost congratulating themselves for the national calamity: our words were fulfilled, we have always said so, luckily we know the culprits! A petty Böhmisch triumphed in Bohemia, he had been without an outlet and starved after his long fasting. He had been starving after power ... but he knew that he cannot get it self-assertively ...[my italics]
This Munich ethos was to stigmatize the subsequent period until the present as its moral plague propagates and repeats essentially one message: 'The Czechs should be modest, weak and small, the last among the last.' After the conclusion of the Germano-Russian pact of August 1939, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia returned to its nihilistic attitude towards Czechoslovak statehood. Communist resistance against Nazism, as well as the idea of anti-fascist national front were abandoned. This significantly weakened and split Czech resistance as such. Moscow and the Communist leadership of the Communist party in Moscow supported the separation of Slovakia. Similarly, at the beginning of the war, the Czechoslovak Communists were rejecting the idea of the renewal of Czechoslovak integrity and frontiers and, instead of carrying out resistance, were concerned mostly with fighting against alleged "anti-German nationalism" and "chauvinism" and avoiding an encounter with the allegedly "revolutionary German proletariat clothed in military uniforms." As late as December 21, 1943, K. Gottwald, the then leader of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and future first Communist President of Czechoslovakia, wrote to Czechoslovak Communists in London that he proposed to Benes that Slovakia be recognized as "an independent national state." In a similar spirit, Gustav Husak, later to become the last Communist President in Czechoslovakia, forwarded during the war an idea of an incorporation of Slovakia into the Soviet Union.
Of particular importance from the point of view of present developments is the figure of the Czech "president" in the German Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, Emil Hacha, in the ciphers of the Czechoslovak government in exile known paradoxically under a code of HAVEL. At least some elements need to be stressed as they are directly linked to the said 'Munich ethos'. Upon his appointment on November 30, 1938, Emil Hacha kissed a scull of St Wenceslav and initiated an allegedly manly program of post-historic 'idiotic banality', that is, a controlled demise of the Czech state and nation according to which: "The Böhmisch man has his home, his savings, his family and his petty luck protected and defended by the Prague government ..." Upon the demise of Czechoslovakia and fascist occupation of Bohemia on March 15, 1939, Hacha told the nation about the trust conferred upon him by Hitler, the leader of the German nation, that "obliged" him to use, if needed, all the extreme measures "if the interests of the [Czech] nation were endangered." After promising the extreme oppression, he called upon the Czechs to focus on "a quiet and successful life." During the years of the German occupation and terror, propaganda and Hacha himself tried to be depicted and received as a moral authority, that is, a would-be moral justification of collaboration, weakness and cowardice. In this way, base human qualities were covered up and shielded by appeals to their opposite - their alleged "morality" and "responsibility" that Hacha was to embody in the service of German supremacy. Thus, Hacha's speeches were dealing with such themes as his personal dissatisfaction with the Czech "moral" environment and reprimanded others in this way. As Hacha himself stated: "Moral qualities are today as important as professional ones. We have to evade servility, we have to evade denouncing because, gentlemen, thereby we don't gain a favour of the Germen leaders." Hacha as a (moral) authority was a creation of propaganda and the press professionally managed by the Germans. In this way, Hacha, himself a bureaucratic 'nobody' without his own personality was turned into a useful "image", cover up, for the purpose of control inside the country, as well as for abroad. To a great extent, this was achieved already during peace-time. Immediately on March 21, 1939, Hacha established an all-inclusive organization "Narodni sourucentsvi" that ought to include every Czech (except for the Jews) by appointing its committee. A similar pattern of internalization and moulding characters by having everybody "compromised" under one all-embracing formal bond was later present in the Communist National Front and even also during the first moments of the Civic Forum in November and December 1989. Notably, a significant similarity with regard to present developments is apparent in attempts at a revision, or, better, remaking of Czech history and new philosophy of history that were promoted under German occupation, promoting a "return" to the idealized times and ethos of feudalism and the Roman Empire of the German Nation. In this spirit, Hacha obediently tried to redefine the Czech identity - in his own image and likeness. To this effect, he had to put their words on their head to do so. In his manifesto of June 19, 1942, he asserted:
Who stands against the Great German Empire, who brings into our lands a disintegration, treason and crime, is not a Czech. We shall have no mercy for such people ... We have excluded those traitors from the nation for good ... you should work and to do everything so that the Fuhrer can again trust the Czech nation ...
Evidently, Hacha based his own existence upon the "trust" (or "recognition" in the Hegelian language) of his master, Hitler, in his servility and found his meaning in making the others to do the same. In this way, Hacha's own identity became totally derived from an external source of the master's recognition, consequently, becoming himself nobody. This led to an advent of active slave (super-slave) like Hacha who was instrumental for enforcing passive servility of others. Hacha's inability to act politically was essential for the realization of the Nazis goal of imposing on the Czech nation "apolitical politics," that is, to de-politicize them so that their life can be completely cut-off from any extraneous information and completely then subdued and organized by Nazi propaganda and will. The Nazis tried to hold to their program of de-politicizing the Czechs until the very last moment - depoliticizing means nothing less than a loss of one's own being. What is left as the main duty of citizens depoliticized into slaves is labour. On the gates of death camps, like that one in the Czech town of Terezin, was the Hegelian slogan: 'Labour makes freedom' (Arbeit macht frei). In the same spirit, K.H. Frank relegated the Czech people in his New Year address of 1945 to the "working people." Thus, with a view to that mechanism of slave producing other slaves (as a kind of super-slave) and Hacha's role in it, Hitler titled Hacha as "the greatest patriot of his nation" and praised him for spreading an awareness of the European dimension and the "European obligation" of the Czechs. The Nazis also knew too well about the inner emptiness of those cowards and their inevitable existential dependency on being determined, confirmed, held and safeguarded by their masters' "recognition." In this sense, K.H. Frank warned one of the member of the Czech protectorate "puppet" government: "An escape from responsibility [to us] is out of question. Who went with us once, cannot go back any more ..." In terms of Böhmisch nihilism, this memento proved to have a tragic validity particularly for the later Czechoslovak elite and, consequently, also for the nation and Czechoslovak state. Hacha's apology or testament is also remarkably relevant to the later rhetoric of Böhmisch nihilism as it has evolved since the 1970s onward. According to Hacha, who remained "faithful" to his collaboration with the Nazis until the end, the Czech nation can preserve itself only by following his imperative of "being useful" to the German Reich. He expressly protested against being guilty of any lost Czech lives - for Hacha "the guilt falls on the heads of those [victims] who did not obey his voice." Hacha finally defined his task as "managing the retreat" (sic) of the Czech nation from a "dizzy sovereignty." He finished with a somewhat ambiguous wish that the Czech nation "live to see the victory of the Reich and Europe." In this way, Hacha himself already half-dead tried to wash his hands over the graves of the countless victims during whose execution he had presided. Quite symbolically, Hacha became, since late 1943, mentally sick - he developed a loss of memory. One of the last medical reports on Hacha's health made after the liberation in a prison hospital of Pankrac read:
In the sphere of mental abilities, he shows a strongly reduced level of understanding and total mental feebleness. He does not recognize his environs. He is not oriented in time and space [my italics].
Hacha's illness and then death prevented his being tried for treason. Unfortunately, the German occupation had also other serious long-term repercussions that were followed upon and further developed after the war by the Communist regime serving first of all the strategic needs of the Soviet Union. Thus, despite a number of otherwise discontinuous elements, Communism in Czechoslovakia represented an underlying continuity of nihilism of a deliberate disrupting the self-being (svébytnost) of the Czechoslovak statehood and Czech nation. The German spatial policy laid down a basis for a systemic and planned spoliation of the Czech nation. In a place of system of individual responsibility, Nazi methods "installed a system of distrust, of suspicion and of keeping an eye on each individual." It was suppressing initiative. The ethos of industry was replaced by slavery. Comprehensive central control was "a fundamental requisite and primary condition for the erection of a system of robbery." The application of a system alien to Czech mentality, meant demoralization. In this way, it was fascism, not Communism that first introduced and imposed in Czechoslovakia the institution of a command economy resulting in a drastic decrease in the volume of real national productivity and bureaucratization of the economy and country: a pre-war ratio was 7-8 productive workers to 1 administrative, during the occupation there were 3-4 workers to 1 bureaucrat. Communism did not bring any positive change in this regard. Bureaucratization also involved an introduction of administrative uniformity of spirit.
Vilem Hejl, a Czech political analyst, also shed light on the less known background of Edvard Benes, the Czechoslovak President who surrendered the state to the Munich dictate in 1938 and then to the Communist demands in 1948. In 1941-1942, Benes finished his book, Democracy Today and Tomorrow, being, as Hejl put it, Benes's program for the future and his political confession. In this regard, Hejl noted that rarely indeed was any political project realized so thoroughly. In the said book, Benes stressed that "the collectivizing national-socialist [Nazi] measures according to the German example" would be of importance for the future, thus, in this way, Benes saw the fascist states as "preparing themselves for a development towards new forms of ownership." Thereby, as Hejl pointed out, Benes de facto praised the totalitarian regimes of his time as a transit to a system of the future, in Benes's own words: "as much the future democracy will have to limit and regulate economic and ownership freedoms, the more it will have to regulate some modes and expressions of the former free democratic political life." This regulation was to be of a corporative type that would enable the state to "intervene more into individual freedoms more than in a classic pre-war democracy." Later, in 1945, Benes declared that "the unrestrained freedom in publishing newspapers shall not be repeated." Hejl concluded that in this way, "an abandonment of the state continuity and factual removal of Czechoslovak democracy was prepared" by its nominal leader and representative. Notably, the Munich deal was not submitted to the parliament for a vote, neither was Hacha's decision of March 15, 1939 to submit the state to Hitler ...
The following period was characterized as subduing Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union as one of its East European satellites. H.Gordon Skilling, an expert on Czechoslovakia, characterized the country under socialism as a "dependent state, subject to a high degree of Soviet control and influence" with a comparatively little degree of autonomy. "The submissive character" of the leadership was given as the decisive factor for this mode of dependence. The genesis of this dependence goes back to the Nazi occupation. In this regard, the notion of continuity even seems to be somehow weak for adequately expressing the other side of the Böhmisch phenomenon of nihilism. In this regard, an important account was provided to the public by Josef Frolik, a former high-ranking secret police officer and later defector. It is rather chilling. At least two out of five Communist presidents had records of being informers or collaborators of the Fascist regime. Their services then were used effectively by the Soviets - once more against the nation. Thus, Antonin Novotny, a leader of the Communist party and Czechoslovak president, was first an agent of the Gestapo, later to be hired by Soviet intelligence; so were, for example, such highest party and state officials as Vladimir Koucky and Evzen Erban (who was to play later a remarkable role in hosting Vaclav Havel and his wife at an exotic party on the eve of the Velvet Revolution). Among the agents of Gestapo and other fascist police organizations, were rather prominent personalities, such as: (quite symbolically) a Communist-made national hero-martyr Julius Fucik; Viliam Siroky, like E. Erban, a member of the highest leadership; Karel Mestek, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party; a minister of national security Ladislav Kopriva; Vaclav Nosek, the first Communist minister of defence; a Deputy Minister of the Interior Jindrich Kotal; a chief of the investigation department of secret police from the period of greatest political reprisals of the 1950s, Milan Moucka; Milos Vejvoda, a prominent Czechoslovak diplomat and deputy foreign minister; officials in of the secretariat of the party Central Committee, and others. The former Nazi agents, especially those of the Gestapo and SS, were deliberately hired by the Communist police. Gustav Husak, the General Secretary of the Communist party from April 1969 till 17 December 1987 and the last Czechoslovak President, actively collaborated with the pro-Nazi government in Slovakia. He was then invited by Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels to visit the "liberated Ukraine" in the fall of 1941. In 1942, he signed an emotional appeal on behalf of "Winterhilfe" for the Nazi Army in Russia. In 1943, he visited with a Slovak delegation the mass graves of Polish officers discovered in the Katyn forest near Smolensk and "crossed the lines" back to the communist side only in 1943. And in winter 1944, he advocated the annexation of postwar Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union. In this regard, it was noted that the overall Czech war-time losses estimated around 400,000 people. This left the nation without its true elite, their places were disproportionately filled by "second or third-rate fixes," cowards and traitors. Moreover, Communism in Czechoslovakia, including its worse period of the 1950s, was introduced under the leadership of the people of the 1929 generation (Klement Gottwald, Antonin Zapotocky, Karol Bacilek, Jaromir Dolansky, Vaclav Kopecky, Viliam Siroky, and Zdenek Fierlinger) whose political basis was, as noted above, nihilism towards Czechoslovak statehood.
The remaining leadership potential of the nation was deliberately stifled by the terror of political processes of the late 1940s and the 1950s while the power of the secret political police was simultaneously increasing under the direction of Soviet advisers. These systematic persecutions in Czechoslovakia were the largest and also the most conspicuous in all the Eastern European satellites of the Soviet Union. The social stratification of the victims also reveal the rationale and nature of the operation. Among the condemned for "political crimes" by the Communist regime, two groups clearly prevailed: 41 per cent of them were workers, followed immediately by the intellectuals comprising 35-40 per cent. According to Zdenek Hejzlar, a Czech historian, "despite all the apparent coincidences of the selection of victims ... everything, that could have been eventually a ground for building a national tradition of revolution, was attacked." The political power was transposed through directed processes of internalization, mostly by the means of induced ubiquitous fear into spiritual, cultural and behavioral patterns - internal enslavement. A key role was in this regard assigned to orchestrated, "theatrical" political processes with real executions whose purpose was a liquidation and deterrence of independent-minded and leader-type personalities and political talents. It was a planned (re)production of mediocrity, especially in the Czechoslovak "elite."
This spelled a radical reversal of the elite character and role. It involved an inner mortification of the personal self-being (svébytnost), followed by replacing the enforced inner emptiness by an extraneous will and forcing the object to learn by heart its role. At the end, this person emerged as a being without his own will, character and looking forward to death and embracing the ethos of death, thus, being himself de facto dead, as Skvorecky confessed in his novel Cowards. The political processes displayed the mechanism of man's murder in a concise and extreme form. The ultimate aim was the destruction of the nation by depriving them of the potential for action.
This spreading and self-reproducing inner death of the elite was then underscored by a physical death of its "god" - Stalin, in 1953, whose shadows, to use Nietzsche's imagery, have still been hanging on the walls of the Soviet cave a long time after the dictator had passed away. In this regard, as Kotas rightly hinted upon, Stalin's death amounted to the death of the whole system - its acknowledgement came with a delay only in the late 1980s. The regime, finding itself 'tired to death,' began "being slowly supplanted by the more formalized and automated rituals" - rituals of Stalin's dead survivors.
After a short-lived reawakening in the 1960s, the morbid ethos of the 1950's that molded the elite then reemerged in a weaker version in the 1970s under an euphemism of "normalization." Importantly, however, the Czechoslovak elite together with their Soviet masters embarked at that time upon a path of further degradation, becoming intertwined and entangled with the underclass of the society and turning themselves into a mafia in funneling large amounts of assets away from the public sphere and the state. The top of society became bound by the bottom and established a mutual interdependence and understanding, thus, controlling the society from both ends together. The mortified elite thus found the only possible way of its revitalization in assuming the features of an underclass who was, however, invested with power over the state 'rented' from Moscow 'lenders'. This factor later proved as essential during the post-Communist transformation and privatization that legalized and validated what had been previously formally illegal and publicly embarrassing. This required from the elite public self-denial, that is, being what there were not, and great efforts had to be exerted for up-keeping their socialist images fencing off the (in)sight of the public. However, already in 1959, Ferdinand Peroutka, a political observer, noted that "the bourgeoisie of that society was a political bourgeoisie" or "bureaucratic bourgeoisie." At the same time, he also discerned an emerging tendency to make the ruling class hereditary. This was combined with clearly anti-proletarian policies inside the state. In this regard, Peroutka also rightly pointed out:
Communism was able to turn away from its pauperization direction at any time. Its technology achieving remarkable results in the military field would have been able to achieve remarkable results in the consumption and social fields. It was not a question of productive capabilities, but that of directing the attention and of political decision.
Consequently, the Communist impoverishment, exploitation and attack on living standards was a matter of deliberate political calculation. It was a continuation of a bourgeois economic war by other (Socialist) means. In this regard, A.H. Hermann concluded that Communists, "the most vociferous critics of the Bata system" used the Bata techniques (a Czech version of Taylorism) at the largest possible scale "turning the whole country into a Bataland." A Czech economist Milos Vanek actually discovered that the system was based on a model of prison-type industry. This socialist self-styled Taylorism never reached the enlightenment of the Fordist method, i.e. developing domestic economy by the means of rising domestic demand. The communist method of profit purposely neglected the needs of social and economic reproduction, i.e. the necessity to invest back into the labor and society. This lead to cumulative societal disinvestment. Higher surplus and profit were extracted almost exclusively by suppressing the labor costs. Increasingly higher productivity was required with the same or lower amounts of inputs. This was done by the means of:
- lowering the wages while ensuring a common level of basic physical subsistence;
- depressing remuneration for professionals and skilled workers toward (sometimes even beyond) the level of unskilled workers;
- imposing long working hours and work weeks;
- forced mobilization, unpaid "voluntary" work, underpaid or unpaid female work, and making the labor use their leisure for making up for their insufficient incomes from the "official" economy;
- deliberately limiting labor’s reproduction needs, services and demands and thus labor costs by prescribing and conserving them at depressed levels, as well as through shortages of consumer goods, rationing, overpricing consumer goods with a large portion of them marked as "luxurious or unessential" (the state is a monopolist seller and thus extracts additional extra surplus);
- and by restrained mobility of labor, both internal and external, that precludes access to information, comparison and knowledge of new reproduction/consumption needs.
To this effect, an arbitrary division of jobs into "productive" and "unproductive" was enforced (the latter often happened to cover a major part of professional and skilled labour). Created surplus was then appropriated by the ruling class through a complex, covert system of multiple redistributions. This also represented a historically unique experiment of using an ideology as a tool of surplus-extraction. Instead of technological modernizations, being by its definition capital-intensive or "too dear," the regime created artificial shortages of labour because of its enforced cheapness. Such a system inevitably undermined the future development of the country. The systemic rejection of maintenance and depreciation (amortization) costs was notoriously pervasive. As a result, the exploitation ratio was actually higher than in most capitalist countries.
Importantly, the experiment of the "Prague Spring of 1968" (what it really amounted to in the final instance) was theoretically prepared some ten years ahead - in the middle of the 1950s or, respectively, in Czechoslovakia in 1957-1958 according to Ota Sik, one of its authors. The phenomenon of a ten-years preparation period preceding the implementation of the project reappears again with regard to the Velvet Revolution of 1989 - Charter '77 was established in 1977, and the current programs of Böhmisch nihilism were presented first in 1977-1978 while some of their basic concepts emerged again some ten years before in 1968-1971 (see further below). In elaborating possible future scenarios, the Communist analysts also unveiled to a certain extent some of the essential parts of the system. Hegelian death of philosophy was promulgated in Czechoslovakia by a Central Committee resolution of 24 March 1959 that, using the language of technology, defined philosophy as "an effective instrument .. [and] also one of the important means of implementing in a Communist way the policies of the Party," thus, the tasks of philosophers was reduced to an examination (anatomy or archeology) carried out on the dead body - to the" elaboration of the Leninist philosophical legacy." Zdenek Mlynar, a member of the 1968 Communist leadership and a notable figure of the Velvet Revolution of 1989, published in 1964 a book entitled State and Man, where he rightly saw the translation of "the will of the ruling class expressed and sanctioned by the State" into legal norms as "legal nihilism." Ludvik Vaculik, a writer and later a distinguished dissident, disclosed at the 4th Writers' Congress in June 1967 the nihilistic (or Hegelian) character of the Communist power that, "tending to homogeneity by purging itself of alien elements [my italics]," selects and installs slaves endowed with "bad [false] conscience" in a place of true leaders. This slavishness imposed as a ruling element has dehumanizing effects. Ivan Svitak, a prominent Marxist thinker, predicted the solution to the crisis brought about by Hegelian nihilism by its further development, that is, by the "return" (sic) to the principle that nothing qua "man is the measure of all things" and, "the philosophy of tomorrow would achieve a synthesis of the scientific cognitive aspect of human knowledge and the mass ideology and the private experience of man." All this was in fact an unacknowledged, but conscious elaboration and implementation of the concept of the Universal and Homogeneous State in its Czechoslovak or Böhmisch version.
In its decisive part, the Prague Spring was a carefully conducted theatre with determined 'good' and 'bad guys' and other roles, including auxiliary ones. The chief symbol of Prague Spring and its leading character, Alexander Dubcek, was selected by Moscow. In 1967, Novotny allegedly refused the demands of Moscow for deploying its units on the territory of Czechoslovakia. The truth, however, is that in accordance with the plans sanctioned by Marshall Grecko in 1965, forward arsenals of nuclear weapons were stationed secretly in Czechoslovakia. Notably, the bargaining process and negotiations in 1983-1987 on the removal of these forward nuclear weapons, that resulted in a Soviet-American treaty on the abolishment of the intermediate-range nuclear forces (INF) of December 1987 together with following reductions in strategic weapons, preceded all the political changes of 1989 in Eastern Europe, thus, being a fundamental prerequisite of that transformation. In this way, it is understandable that, for the purpose of the security of their forward nuclear outposts and bargaining with the West, the Soviets were interested in and preferred securing and controlling these weapons with their own personnel on the spot. Moreover, the Soviets had a unique opportunity to try in practice a sudden deployment and invasion in the basin of Central Europe at a large scale.
To this effect, some plausible "coincidence" was needed. In December 1967, Brezhnev visited Prague. He spoke with every member of the Presidium separately. That was absolutely unprecedented. The longest talk was with Dubcek. The contents of all these secret discussions remain unknown. On January 3, 1968, during a meeting of the Central Committee, Antonin Novotny himself proposed Dubcek as his successor to the post in the Party, and the Prague Spring of 1968 was started, as Pithart put it, as a "theatrical show." The preparation for the August invasion in Czechoslovakia began at the level of the armies of the Warsaw Pact states in February 1968, consequently, at the level of the Soviet general staff, the planning and its elaboration had to start much earlier.
The lesson of that opening, however, indicated that, if the potential of the 'other possibility' is not checked, controlled or occupied beforehand, it can lead to a creation of an undesired political space of legitimacy in its own right, that is, to a reviving of Czech political self-being (svébytnost) which, in 1968, proved to be still surviving and capable of reemerging after its enforced prolonged retreat. This is also apparently what Pithart defined as an underestimation of the supposedly "unpolitical" part of the public on the part of the regime. Without this lesson, the Velvet Revolution could not be so smoothly carried out. In this regard, the resilience of the Czech spirit in 1989 was also much weaker, more atomized and disoriented than back then in 1968. In 1989, it was already possible to present the democratic way of being reduced to a better consumption and richer shops offered under the notion of 'return to Europe' - away from Czechoslovakia. Among the inadvertent moments of the Prague Spring were, for example, uncontrolled, that is: sovereign political activities from below, the free spirit of the press, emancipation of the party members who were about to take over the Party Congress scheduled for August of 1968, dismissal of the KGB agents from Prague posing a threat to the KGB organizational structure in Czechoslovakia, demands for a national defense doctrine ... All these weak points were consequently to be safeguarded in the time to come. After the military invasion of August 1968 that established a Soviet military presence in Czechoslovakia, Dubcek himself and other men of 1968 became "liquidated by their own 1968 efforts" in a strictly disciplined way to be demoted and put aside after fulfilling the task of "legalizing" the results of the invasion. Dubcek, as the leader of the party, was replaced in April 1969 by Husak, the former prisoner of the Communist regime that "served to spread some necessary momentous illusions." As far as the political Communist elite was concerned, Pithart summarized the Prague Spring essentially correctly as an attempt of the elite to justify themselves even for the price of the loss of "the last remnants of the independence of Czechoslovakia as the state." The Velvet Revolution of 1989 did not change much in the validity of such a self-destructive axiom. As a result, the derived character of the party and its subordination of foreign interests were reconfirmed, and this, in turn, enhanced nihilistic cynicism and relativism of the dependent elite.
The idea of encouraging the separatist tendencies that appeared on the part of the Communists during World War II, as noted above, was reconsidered in 1968 (and later again in 1989-1992). According to Eugen Steiner, the Russians made a conscious conclusion that it was "the time to encourage the Slovaks into a more nationalistic attitude." In this way, Vasil Bilak, a man of the Kremlin with a strong Stalinist past, after 1968, officially the second most powerful figure of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia and otherwise ultra-orthodox conservative, was in 1968 privately expressing "a possibility or even preference of Slovak independence." Following that line, Bilak, who could not speak properly either Czech or Slovak, became suddenly a proponent of an even more nationalistic program than Dubcek or Husak and actively helped to open the Slovak question also within the party. In this regard, the role of both Husak and Bilak was essential. Again, the task was accomplished despite or under cover of their momentarily labels. The legislation on the Czechoslovak federation was adopted in October 1968 shortly after the Soviet invasion. According to C.S. Leff, remaking the Czechoslovak state into a rather complex and quite untransparent federation was "the sole major institutional legacy of the Prague Spring." Most of other institutional changes were openly negative and destructive for the being of the state and nations. Dozens of journals were banned, theatres closed, organizations dissolved, a great part of the intellectual elite was forced into emigration or "exiled" into manual jobs; and sciences, especially the political and social ones were systematically deprived of a creative content. Prague's Military Academy was also abolished. The behavior of citizens was reviewed by tribunal-like "committees." A basis for the developments of the 1980s was laid down. According to Petr Uhl, a dissident-Trockist and prominent figure of the Velvet Revolution, the technocratic generation that was to play a crucial role in the changes of the 1980s began forming in the 1960s, especially within the Communist apparatus. Concepts of the new power designs were formulated by the end of 1967 to be rehearsed in 1968. Alojz Lorenc, the last Communist chief of the secret police belonged to this generation of technocrats. As he himself stressed, at that time, there appeared a new generation in the secret police, purely technocratic, unbound by the previous revolutionary tradition and somewhat "isolated" from their older colleagues. They were free from the shadows of Stalin that still hung over the heads of their mentors and that already vanished for the former. It was up to these new educated men speaking and understanding the language of technology to inaugurate a new (post)Communist era of Zerrisenheit before a possible advent of another Hegelian god. Since nihilism was the cultivated and yet concealed essence of the regime, ideological labels meant something only as far as they were efficient. The year of 1968, especially the following repression, brought a death to the hitherto used Marxist discourse. The inertia of the movement kept the slogans in apparent existence even afterwards, but only as images of the dead past that were gradually fading away and emptied of any remaining content - until 1989. In this way, Marxism as an operationalized mode of nihilism for the masses was being dismantled proportionally to the progression of its realization - as much as the people were turned into mere homogenized manipulable masses-future-horde, and the state was expropriated from the nation. Thus, it can be argued that it was the apparent retreat of Marxism that was not so much its failure as much, on the contrary, a sign of achieving under the discredited "abstract" labels some of its real goals, especially a depoliticisation of the nation into a nihilistic mass and destruction of its body politic, the state.
Hitler already remarked that the success of the movement and their massification is usually the reason for "gradually losing their fighting power and being no longer capable of supporting or utilizing the propaganda of an idea resolutely and aggressively." The "pacification" and mortification of the masses in a form of a homogeneous passive "broad middle stratum" incapable of independent mentality (thinking) or "brilliant heroism" (action) is such a result. These Heideggerian "standing reserves are effectively put out of the battle and will "never fight." From the point of view of the regime, they are dead. Discrediting several slogans and labels or ideological superficiality is quite a cheap price for that mortification of society. In this process, Marxism discards its transient and unessential elements, including its name - Marxism, while the essence of nihilism is coming more forcefully and self-assuredly into existence and, thus, also within man's sight. To this effect, ideology has to commit a self-alienation by "purifying" itself from its own reality, as well as from the unveiled moments of its otherwise hidden essence (its truth) - inter alia the unessentiality of Marxism (qua doctrine of the working people) for Marxism (qua nihilism). As Jadwiga Staniszkis, a Polish analyst, stressed the world of nihilism is "continually being reproduced in new otherness or ideologies which are not similar in content, but which have a similar ontological status and entail similar structures of reasoning." This recurring "ontological status" with "similar structures of reasoning" is our 'most uncanny host' - nihilism.
Being the phenomenon of nothingness and ultimate negation of man, the movement of nihilism has to free itself permanently from any of its positive content - a permanent revolution qua self-denial in motion. It inevitably becomes its own obstacle as far as it has any concrete content - the revolution cannot but devour itself in the form of its own children. Marxism (nihilism) is thus obliged to bite its own tail. Or, as Arendt indicated: "It is the freedom from the content of their own ideologies which characterizes the highest rank of the totalitarian hierarchy. These men consider everything and everybody in terms of organization ..."
The whole being of that emptiness is a function, a role organized and able to exist only in clusters and networks of other similar functions and roles - filled in the case of a nihilistic slave from outside, hence the misery of the Czechoslovak nominal elites. In a retrospective, Alojz Lorenc commented that "before Socialism [in Czechoslovakia] physically died, socialism had evaporated from the heads of the [Communist] power-brokers." Attending to their egos torn apart by the deformed consciousness of the Hegelian slave or, perhaps, by their spiritual vacuum, always under the pressure of the world, was for them more urgent than pursuing the art of true statesmanship. In this light, the intimate knowledge of the feelings and inner state of mind of the Communist leaders on the part of the official dissidents is noteworthy. Thus, Martin Hybner, a Czech dissident-thinker reported that "the top of the party bureaucracy there is commanded by a deep unanimous conviction of the sterility of their own system and of a crushing supremacy of the West in all the domains." Similarly, other dissidents, former ex-Communists and potential anti-Communists claimed that they did not know any true or convinced Communist or Marxist. Apparently, focusing on the Communist "top," they did not deal or mingle with the "naive" ones below. In this light, the transformation of the 1980s began back in the 1960s or even in the middle of the 1950s in the aftermath of Stalin's death. The beginning of this process that led ultimately to the changes of 1989 was marked by the advent of so called convergence theories in the West, and "criticism" of the "bourgeois" theories about the emergence of a "new ruling class" in socialist countries and their internal erosion practised in the East starting from 1958-1960 onwards. Thus, Rio Preisner, a contemporary Czech philosopher, noted that "since the early sixties the revisionist crisis of Marxism has been heralding an obvious convergence between a late (petty)bourgeois philosophy and Marxism." If nihilism, as Arendt told us, is essentially a bourgeois credo (minus hypocrisy/labels), the merging with petty-bourgeois ethos was on the part of the Communist nihilists apparently a compromise. Given the requirements linked with a controlled management of the process, before transforming the system back into a more bourgeois or capitalist-like one, the petty-bourgeois phase was an inevitable transit for it, especially when that nihilism had to distance itself from the working class (a fine example of negation of negation). The ambiguity and affinity of petty bourgeoisie provided not only that convenient bridge, but also an ally against the working class. Resentment of complex-ridden petit-bourgeois stemming from its existential insecurity amid apparent opportunities was thus amply used. This was also what Stalin's "counter-revolution" achieved - liquidation of the proletarian phase of the Communist revolution and subordination of the working class to the uprooted petty-bourgeois-minded bureaucrats who administered terror in return. The 1960s and 1970s modified this unflattering side of petty-bourgeois "revolutionarism" by its shift to a banality of consumption and self-enrichment, that is, by promising it an upward mobility closer to a para-bourgeois ideal while accustoming it to the convenience of illegal methods. The way to post-Communism was paved by tacit incentives for corruption and embezzlement. As a result, the working class ceased to exist as a political class - something that the West without Marxism in practice failed to achieve.
One of the best and, thus, meaningful analyses of the Communist preparations for their following post-Communist metamorphoses in the field of politics and economy was elaborated by Jadwiga Staniszkis, a Polish political scientist. Already in 1987, she established that a "de-articulation of the socialist mode of production" had already begun in the forms of three parallel processes:
(a) "the socialist state divesting itself of property in favour both of Western creditors and the colonial state";
(b) "the withdrawal of the socialist mode of production from some areas of the economy";
(c) the relinquishment in practice, but not in formal legal terms, of the formula of collective ownership which is constitutive of the socialist mode of production."
The disposal rights over state property were formalized, displacing the formally legal modes of socialist ownership by the people. In the 1980s, the USSR began building intensively links directly with enterprises in Eastern Europe into a rapidly widening network, freeing its control mechanisms from the local state structures. A characteristic feature of these stealthy changes was that there were carried mostly by administrative means outside and regardless of the constitutional framework in such a way that they provided a structure that secured primary access to the gains from reforms to (selected) nomenklatura people. In this way, the changes served the emancipation of the Communist elite from formal ideological and legal restraints and former Marxist hypocrisy. Illegitimate will and illegal undertakings of the elite were confirmed as standing above the law. Instead of breaking their power, the process amounted to key power behind the facade of socialism, to the "enfranchisement of the nomenklatura." As a result, the Communist elite was materially, ideologically and also politically entering a phase of (re)turning its piled treasure into capital. In 1985, one third of Czechoslovak citizens were without any savings, about half of all the savings in Czechoslovakia was dispersed into small amounts from 1,000 to 30,000 Crowns (roughly from 30 to 1,000 USD). The remaining half of the savings (over 30,000 Crowns) was in hands of less than 10 per cent of account-holders.
What was also important, was a simultaneous internal shift in what Staniszkis pertinently defines as an "imperial-cluster agency" inside the satellite-country. The elite disengaged themselves from the party, putting it on a side-track, also because it was increasingly difficult to keep the rank and file in line (for example, the discussions on the new statute of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia revealed a strong dissatisfaction with the leadership and calls for direct elections instead of the former indirect ones controlled from above). Consequently, as a rule, in the Eastern European countries in the second half of the 1980s, the imperial cluster "severely curtailed the role of the party." This left the party only as a 'ritualized' entity with a demobilized apparatus." This marginalization of the Communists by Communists effectively paralyzed beforehand any meaningful resistance on the part of would-be pro-socialist forces. The "new" power group ascending within the elite was drawn heavily from the security services connected with the Communist technocrats. Under the cover of perestroika, the elite's previous ardor for Communist slogans began melting only to be reified later into another kind of dogmatism or rather opportunism, that is, into what they understood as being "liberal" or "conservative." As Elliot Aronson stressed, "the most zealous opponents of a given position are not whose who have always been distant from that position." In this situation on the eve of the "revolutions" of 1989 from above, Eastern Europe, including Czechoslovakia, was moving into a position of dual dependence - as a periphery or frontier zone of the Russian Empire and the West. In this connection, Staniszkis expressly pointed out the case of Czechoslovakia as an ominous example of seemingly leaving one relationship of dependence to enter another, where so-called Czech "realism" boils down to a surrender of one's own rights, entailing a national degradation under the flag of "superficial realism" (Hacha's ethos). That these changes were prepared sufficiently beforehand is also testified by a program declaration by Petr Uhl, a leader of the takeover in 1989, who stated not later than in 1979: "a fundamental social [political] change ... will hit radically all the existent institutions of the sphere of power, will abolish their links and mostly them too."
We can conclude that despite the apparent failures of the Communist regimes, what emerged as a result of that development was a structure of power that was hostile to the original and sovereign body of being and was moving steadily and continuously closer to an integration with universal and homogeneous nihilism as its compatible component. The fascist occupation laid a political and economic foundation for the descent towards the Hegelian end of history. This continuity was also safeguarded by the continuity of personnel. Apparent discontinuous changes were prepared in the depth of the system itself, being progressive moments - phases in the realization of the underlying ethos and essence of nihilism. What was achieved in this regard, was a thorough alienation and separation of the elite from the body of the nation in the imperial interests of a foreign-external power. In the same extent, the state was "stolen" from the nation. As Jaroslav Krejci observed in this regard, even "the language of power-holders, state authorities and institutions was a language of an alien power structure, not the language of the nation." Significantly, Alojz Lorenc, the secret police boss, wrote after 1989 that the first principle of being for Czechoslovakia is its determination by external factors.
Interestingly, the identity or name of Alojz Lorenc himself is apparently merely "external", that is, not true, as well as names and identities of some other protagonists of the Czechoslovak odyssey. One cannot but agree with Staniszkis that in this way the Czech case provided "an obvious example of the civilizational decline which has resulted from this situation [of dependence]." The ascendance of (external) nihilism and of the ethos of political death of the state and nation into a commanding position is also well described as a phenomenon of existential, political, spiritual and cultural "entropy" with a high degree of self-awareness by Vaclav Havel in his open letter of April 4, 1975 to the then Czechoslovak President Gustav Husak, where Havel stressed: "What prevails is order without life." Notably, as a matter of fact, Alojz Lorenc, the secret police (StB) guru, claims de facto the authorship of the concept of entropy used by Havel in his letter in 1975. In particular, Lorenc confessed in his book that he had been concerned with "the entropy of the development of the society" since 1968, roughly at a time when he joined the secret police service. In this light, together with political, military and economic preparations for a new transitional manoeuvre of 1989, negotiations and bargaining was apparently also under way regarding the future position and destiny of Czechoslovakia. Evidence of this is indicated at least in two sources - one given by Petr Uhl, who is to play a crucial role in the subsequent developments, and another from outside. Thus Uhl wrote in his book published in Koln in 1982: "The Czechoslovak question is also for the rulers in Moscow a constant burden, that they try to cover up or apologize for because it hinders them in their current (sic) policy of reconciliation and cooperation with the West." Carol Skalnik Leff in his book on the Czecho-Slovak conflict published in 1988 when people in Czechoslovakia hardly suspected the forthcoming attacks on the federation, stated with a high degree of confidence that, despite being seventy years in one state and preceding cohabitation and links lasting over centuries, the Czechs and Slovaks, to adjacent and closest nations, have allegedly "no common political past." More importantly, Leff immediately asserted that another "[inter-national] conflict-intensifying factor" is an "almost hopeless" geopolitical situation for Czechoslovakia:
[Czechoslovakia's] genesis as a state by an act of international will is only symptomatic of the insoluble long-term dilemma of the small nation. For most of their histories, Slovakia and the Czech lands have been vassals to the dominant power in central Europe, this was no less true after 1918 than it had been before. In fact, in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of 1968, despairing Czech intellectuals voiced regrets that the state was ever born, and they pondered the alternative of an East European confederation powerful enough to withstand Germany and the Soviet Union.
As we have seen, political and economic preparations for the ensuing transformations originated organically from the very essence of the system. Now, it is also necessary to show the birth and elaboration of the present concepts of anti-national nihilism that were to be put later into effect and prepared theoretical justifications (mythologizing) and ground for the dismantlement of Czechoslovakia, as a necessary step for a political questioning of Czech statehood and its role in Central Europe.
1  Lidove noviny, August 11, 1992, p. 8. St. Wenceslav was abused as a symbol by the Nazis. Emil Hacha was a puppet-president during the German occupation.
2  As A.H. Hermann put it, Czechoslovakia was "not absolutely vital for the USSR, but was more as a bargaining chip in the negotiations with the West" - something to have in order to barter with. [A.H. Hermann, A History of the Czechs, (London: Allen Lanel, 1975), p. 282]
3  See Timothy Garton Ash, Rok zazraku '89, (Lidove noviny: Praha, 1991), p. 121.
4  Zdenek Jicinsky, a direct participant in these events, stressed the 'continuity' of the breakup with the 'discontinuous' breaks of 1948 (Communist ascendance to power) and 1968 (Soviet intervention) declared that the breakup was not "constitutionally very clean," however was "in accordance with the tradition of our putsches [1948, 1968]." [Zdenek Jicinsky, Cs. parlament v polistopadovem obdobi, (Nadas - Afgh. s.r.o.: Praha, 1993), p. 31]
5  On the periodization of Czech history see for example, Erazim Kohak, Narod v nas: Ceska otazka a ideal humanitni v udobi normalizace, (Sixty-Eight Publishers: Toronto, 1978), p. 159; and H.Gordon Skilling and Paul Wilson, eds., Civic Freedom in Central Europe: Voices from Czechoslovakia, (Macmillan: London, 1991), p. 3.
6  E. Kohak, Narod v nas, op. cit., p. 142. Cf. Vilem Hejl, Rozvrat: Mnichov a nas osud, Sixty-Eight Publishers, Toronto, 1989. On an account of strange congruence between the Nazi plans from before the World War and the developments after 1989, including the breakup of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, including the recreation of states that existed before only as Fascist entities during the war like Croatia and Slovakia, see Miroslav Galuska, "Po slavnosti", Nova pritomnost, No. 6/1995, June 16, 1995: 4-5.
7  Later, Havel, perceiving the necessity to justify such a surprise visit to Munich post factum, stated that he thereby wanted to "stress how closely the future destiny of all of us is tied with the future destiny of Germany." Vaclav Havel, Projevy, leden-cerven 1990, op. cit., p. 45. Havel's visit to Munich was initially announced as a "contribution to peace." Ibid., p. 18.
8  Coincidentally, there are even more parallels in this regard. The then spurious president in the Germany-run Protectorate was Emil Hacha; later, only his death saved him from being charged for high treason after the liberation of the country. In the correspondence of the then Czechoslovak government in exile Emil Hacha was referred to under a codename of HAVEL. Moreover, the Chancellor of E. Hacha (the first Chancellor of President in Czech history ever) was "little Havel" - Havelka, who was considered to be the 'right hand' of Hacha. See Dusan Tomasek, Robert Kvacek, Causa Emil Hacha, (Themis: Praha, 1995), pp. 16, 99, 108, 110. As matter of curiosity, the author also noted that "the new president also had his bear sent every day from the adjacent [restaurant] Vikarka. He was used to it for years. [Ibid., p. 18]
9  Vaclav Havel, Projevy, leden-cerven 1990, op. cit., p. 26.
10 For an elaboration on the importance of Havel's imagery and its political value, see Dienstbier, op. cit., p. 43.
11 Cf. Michael Howard, The Causes of Wars, (Temple Smith: London, 1983), p. 168.
12 It is almost impossible to render an English translation of the word svébytnost in English, usually given as sovereignty or independence. Its meaning is, however, tied to a notion of (own) being or as one's right of being/dwelling in the Being.
13 Clearly, as we have seen, Marx and Engels calculated a forthcoming extinction of the Czechs. Interestingly, the Czech question is also a ground where their views converged with those of Hitler for whom Czechoslovakia was "an artificial creation" allegedly, "in itself, unfit for existence ... an anomaly in the life of Europe." [L. Novak, Czechoslovakia: Before and after Munich, (Toronto: The Northern Miner Press Limited, 1944), p. 21] See also, for example, Barbara Wolfe Jancar, Czechoslovakia and the Absolute Monopoly of Power: A Study of Political Power in a Communist System, ( New York: Praeger Publishers, 1971), p. 242. It is to be noted that the thesis of "artificiality" was picked up by some of the so-called dissidents, including Petr Pithart, a post-1989 Czech Prime Minister who also participated in the dismantling of Czechoslovakia (see further below).
14 Leopold Chmela, Czechoslovak Sources and Documents, No. 30, The Economic Aspect of the German Occupation of Czechoslovakia, (Prague: Orbis, 1948), p. 24. General Eduard von Libert declared as early as 1910: "Germandom abroad is still today our best, strongest and most important colony; it is one of the most remunerative tasks of present-day German statecraft to fashion out of this Germandom abroad the greatest possible national utility." [B. Bilek, Fifth Column at Work, (London: Trinity Press, 1945), p. 42.]
15 It was A. Ostry, a Czech dissident political analyst, who, as far as I know, first denoted that policy of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia against the Czechoslovak statehood as nihilism. From its conception, it was directed against the Versailles settlement (later to be revived, for example, by Pithart and Havel - see below). Only after the VII. congress of the Communist International in 1935 (the unified antifascist front), the Czechoslovak Communists readjusted their nihilism according to new tactics. [A. Ostry, Ceskoslovensky problem, (Koln: Index, 1972), pp. 315-317]
16 Vilem Hejl, Rozvrat: Mnichov a nas osud, (Toronto: Sixty-Eight Publishers, 1989), pp. 79-80.
17 Vojtech Mencl, Milos Hajek, Milan Otahal and Erika Kadlecova, Krizovatky 20. stoleti: Svetlo na bila mista v nejnovejsich dejinach, (Praha: Nase vojsko, 1990), pp.
18113-117; Vaclav Cerny, Pameti, (Toronto: Sixty-Eight Publishers, 1982), pp. 149, 153-155, 247-8; Bohumil Cerny, Jan Kren, Vaclav Kural a Milan Otahal, eds., Cesi, Nemci, odsun: diskuse nezavislych historiku, (Praha, Academia, 1990), pp. 234-238.
19 Vaclav Cerny, Pameti, op. cit., pp. 154-155. Cf. H.Gordon Skilling, Communism National and International, Eastern Europe after Stalin, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1964), p. 87. In addition to Moscow, and later Berlin, the Vatican was the third centre of power that was in principle hostile to the Czechoslovak Republic. Until January 1928, the Vatican obstinately refused to rbe econciled with the existence of the Czechoslovak state at least de iure. See Hans Brisch and Ivan Volgyes, eds., Czechoslovakia: The Heritage of Ages Past, East European Monographs No. LI, Boulder, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1979), p. 40.
20 Bohumil Cerny, Jan Kren, Vaclav Kural a Milan Otahal, eds., Cesi, Nemci, odsun: diskuse nezavislych historiku, (Praha, Academia, 1990), p. 74.
21 Vojtech Mencl, Milos hajek, Milan Otahal and Erika Kadlecova, Krizovatky 20. stoleti: Svetlo na bila mista v nejnovejsich dejinach, op. cit., p. 117.
22 Emil Hajek, "Ministerstvo obrany, nebo setrnosti?" in Listy, No. 3/1996: 48.
23 John W.Wheeler-Bennet, Munich: Prologue to Tragedy, (London: Macmillan, 1948), pp. 356-357.
24 John W.Wheeler-Bennet, Munich: Prologue to Tragedy, op. cit., p. 354.
25 In this light, the present protagonists of Böhmisch nihilism appear as plagiarisers of the ideas of Munich, although, as a rule, direct references and links are on their part avoided with a few remarkable exceptions (Pithart). See further below.
26 Vaclav Cerny, Pameti, op. cit., p. 443.
27 Ibid., p. 444.
28 Vaclav Vrabec, "Pakt a KSC", Tvorba, No. 2/1990: 4. At the same time, Moscow was sending out orders to the Communists in Europe to welcome Hitler's soldiers in the occupied countries as "class brothers" because "distinguishing between fascist and democratic countries has lost its previous meaning." Instead, the Communists were urged to fight against national leaders and political forces of their countries, including social-democrats, and against national resistance labelled as "imperialist." In a message of March 10, 1940, Gottwald, the Czechoslovak Communist leader, explicitly stated that "we reject decisively a creation of the Czechoslovak army abroad." [Ibid., p. 4]
29 Vojtech Mencl, Milos hajek, Milan Otahal and Erika Kadlecova, Krizovatky 20. stoleti: Svetlo na bila mista v nejnovejsich dejinach, op. cit., p. 177; Simultaneously, there appeared a Communist-inspired drive for "a Soviet Slovakia," that is, for incorporating Slovakia into the Soviet Union. On the other hand, German Communists also advocated a permanent absorption of Czech lands in an expanded Germany cautiously supported from Moscow. Already at that time, a Czech Communist leader, Vaclav Kopecky, forwarded the idea of a symbiosis and eventual merge between Fascism and Communism. The renewal of Czechoslovakia was posited by Moscow as a part of "imperialist and anti-Soviet plans," while the Czecho-Slovak separation was advocated as a primary Communist demand and was voiced with a full seriousness by G. Husak as late as the summer 1944. [Vaclav Vrabec, "Pakt a KSC", op. cit., pp. 4-5]
30 See Bohumil Cerny, Jan Kren, Vaclav Kural a Milan Otahal, eds., Cesi, Nemci, odsun: diskuse nezavislych historiku, op. cit., pp. 299-300; Edvard Benes, Pameti, II. dil, (Wurmannsquick: Archa, ?), pp. 29-34. The then Communist propaganda depicted the "friendly" Sovieto-German relations as the "basic stone of the international situation" and labelled the USA as "the most dangerous factor in the development of the war." [Ibid., p. 30]
31 H.Gordon Skilling, eds., Czechoslovakia 1918-1988, Seventy Years from Independence, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991), p. 77.
32 Eugen Steiner, The Slovak Dilemma, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), pp. 46, 74.
33 Ibid., p. 99.
34 As a matter of curiosity, it may be noted that St Wenceslav (ruling in 922-935) is remembered today among the Czechs mostly as the one who entered upon an obligation to send to Germany every year 120 oxen.
35 Dusan Tomasek, Robert Kvacek, Causa Emil Hacha, (Praha: Themis, 1995), p. 196.
36 Ibid., p. 41. The Nazis did not allow themselves any ambiguity as to "endangering Czech interests." The Nazis' program was a biological extermination of the Czech nation. For example, on October 1, 1941, the German Protector in Bohemia, Heydrich, confirmed in his inaugural address to the leading Nazi functionaries that the territory of Bohemia ought to be settled by Germans, whereas the Czechs were to be either Germanized or dispersed in Russia or expelled somewhere in the East. The most dangerous class of Czechs were defined as those with a "good racial background," but with a "bad conviction" - they were to be put against the wall and exterminated. [Ibid. p. 126]
37 See, for example. ibid., p. 70.
38 Ibid., p. 44, see also p. 43. Clearly, the words ceased to have their traditional meanings and were used to cover up their opposite. This is an example of the parasitism of nihilism on the body of being in practice.
39 Hacha was a typical case of pedant who having no content, the more he was forced to cling to a form or any form, for that matter. The form was also covering up his cowardice and collaboration. Thus, when dozens of thousands of Czechs were executed so that the Czech nation be beheaded of their best, he complained to the Nazis authorities that the Germans were not showing their "Heil" during the Czech anthem. [Ibid., p. 144] Uniformity of form was for him more important than the coherence of the essence (the word "conscience" does not seem to fit well in this connection). Some fifty years later, Vaclav Havel, speaking about his own credo and vision of politics, said: "In principle, all [my politics] is a matter of form ." [Vaclav Havel, Letni premitani, (Praha, Odeon, 1992), p. 102]
40 Ibid., p. 72.
41 Ibid., p. 42.
42 In a number of working places in Prague during the Velvet Revolution, Civic Forum organizers, some later confirmed as secret police agents, made special lists of people who signed as the members of the Forum, and of those who, for any reason, did not, thus marking the latter as visible 'outsiders' or apparent defectors, if not outright enemies. The latter were thus placed under severe psychological pressure. This was personally witnessed.
43 Ibid., p. 71.
44 Ibid., p. 157.
45 Cf., for example, ibid. p. 170.
46 Ibid., p. 180.
47 See ibid., p. 198.
48 Ibid., p. 186. The reduction of a nation and its people to "labourers" was also the main motto of the following Communist rhetoric and policies.
49 Ibid., p. 166.
50 Ibid., p. 172. It is notable that the notion of "Europe" and appeals to a "new European order were used by the Nazis as a cover-up for much less noble programs and intentions. [See, for example, ibid. pp. 127, 175]
51 Ibid., p. 169.
52 Ibid., p. 178. The authors of Hacha's biography chose to denote this Hacha's confession as a "certain naivety," a term whose conspicuous popularity with regard to the present Czech politics is remarkable.
53 Ibid., p. 182.
54 Ibid., p. 212.
55 Leopold Chmela, Czechoslovak Sources and Documents, No. 30, The Economic Aspect of the German Occupation of Czechoslovakia, (Prague, Orbis, 1948), p. 131.
56 Ibid., p. 38.
57 Ibid., p. 38.
58 Ibid., p. 38.
59 Ibid., p. 39.
60 Ibid., p. 40.
61 Vilem Hejl, Rozvrat: Mnichov a nas osud, (Toronto: Sixty-Eight Publishers, 1989), pp. 97-98. As a matter of fact, already during the World War II (as early as 1943), Benes was informed by Stalin about calculations and preparations with regard to a third world war. [Ibid., pp. 147-148, 159-160].
62 Ibid., pp. 98-99.
63 Ibid., p. 99.
64 Ibid., p. 99.
65 Ibid., p. 100.
66 Ibid., p. 101.
67 See, for example, A.H. Hermann, A History of the Czechs, (London: Allen Lanel, 1975), pp. 273-77; Vojtech Mencl, Milos hajek, Milan Otahal and Erika Kadlecova, Krizovatky 20. stoleti: Svetlo na bila mista v nejnovejsich dejinach, op. cit., pp. 211-212.
68 H. Gordon Skilling, Communism National and International, Eastern Europe after Stalin, op. cit., pp. 23-25.
69 Josef Frolik, Spion vypovida, (Praha: Orbis, 1990), pp. 53-54, 110, 141.
70 Ibid., pp. 53-54, 72, 90, 91, 107, 110, 141, 156, 221. On the links between Gestapo and KGB see ibid., pp. 140-141, or Allan Bullock, Hitler and Stalin: parallel lives, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992), pp. 662 -663, including an account of a Soviet transfer of some hundreds of German Communists to Gestapo for execution, others were executed in the USSR after their flight there from fascism. On the causa of Julius Fucik see, for example, also Ferdinand Peroutka, Budeme pokracovat, (Toronto: Sixty-Eight Publishers, 1984), pp. 117-122. Fucik's deification became one of the greatest Communist mystifications. In this way, the Czechs are not apparently quite lucky with regard to some of their modern martyrs-prisoners.
71 Jiri V. Kotas, Czechoslovakia's Crossroads in the Twentieth Century (a personal essay), (Ottawa: Ceskosloveska cesta, 1988), p. 18.
72 Jiri V. Kotas, Czechoslovakia's Crossroads in the Twentieth Century (a personal essay), ( Ottawa: Ceskosloveska cesta, 1988), p. 9. Jiri Kotas played himself rather an ambiguous role in Czechoslovakia after 1989. He started as an advisor to Vaclav Klaus, a later Czech Prime Minister, he was also a presidential candidate and later a director of Bohemia, the first bank that went bankrupt after being run by some prominent former secret police officers.
73 H.Gordon Skilling, Communism National and International, Eastern Europe after Stalin, op. cit., p. 89.
74 Zdenek Hejzlar, "K politice a vnitrnimu vyvoji KSC po roce 1948" in Sbornik: systemove zmeny, (Koln: Index, 1972), pp. 75, 81.
75 Erazim Kohak, Narod v nas: Ceska otazka a ideal humanitni v udobi normalizace, (Toronto: Sixty-Eight Publishers, 1978), p. 265.
76 See Vojtech Mencl, Milos hajek, Milan Otahal and Erika Kadlecova, Krizovatky 20. stoleti: Svetlo na bila mista v nejnovejsich dejinach, op. cit., pp. 247, 249. See also Vladimir V. Kusin, The Intellectual Origins of the Prague Spring, (Cambridge, the Cambridge University Press, 1971), p. 11.
77 H. Kovalyova and E.V. Kohak, Na vlastni kuzi, (Toronto: 68 Publishers, 1973), p. 263.
78 Jiri V. Kotas, Czechoslovakia's Crossroads in the Twentieth Century (a personal essay), op. cit., pp. 20, 23.
79 See, for example, Josef Skvorecky, Hlas z Ameriky, (Toronto: Sixty-Eight Publishers, 1990), pp. 215-217; Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, (New York: the Free Press, 1992), p. 32.
80 Ferdinand Peroutka, Demokraticky manifest, (New York: Universum Press. Co., 1959), pp. 58-59, 48-49.
81 Ferdinand Peroutka, Demokraticky manifest, op. cit., p. 110.
82 See Allan Bullock, Hitler and Stalin: parallel lives, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992), p. 704.
83 A.H. Hermann, A History of the Czechs, op. cit., p. 235. The Bata system consisted in a total control, spying and intensive indoctrination of the labour force with the trade union subservient to management. [See ibid., pp. 233-35] I personally remember a discussion with a Czech high official who admitted that still Bata's original machines were around some forty years after the Communist takeover, however, with several times higher intensity of labour of which Bata himself could never dream.
84 See H. Kovalyova and E.V. Kohak, Na vlastni kuzi, op. cit., p. 257.
85 Ota Sik, The Communist Power System, (New York: Praeger Special Studies, Praeger Publishers, 1981), p. 148; Ota Sik, The Third Way: Marxist-Leninist Theiory and Modern Industrial Society, (London: Wildwood House, 1976), pp. 226, 227-228, 225; Ota Sik, Czechoslovakia: The Bureacratic Economy, (New York: International Arts and Sciences Press, 1972), pp. 85-93. In Czechoslovakia, according to Sik, the ratio of exploitation started to rise in 1950-1953 and then even more from 1956 onward to reach by 1961 almost a 3-times rise in comparison with the 1950s while the overall productivity of labour and economic performance declined. [Ibid., pp. 63-71]
86 Ota Sik, Czechoslovakia: The Bureaucratic Economy, op. cit., p. 7. Vladimir V. Kusin traced the origins of the project "Prague Spring" to the 1956 works carried out in
87some academic institutions, especially the Prague School of Economics and the Mining College in Ostrava, as a search for "new facts" called "democratization" that was to dispense finally with the nominal legitimacy of "majority decisions." [Vladimir V. Kusin, The Intellectual Origins of the Prague Spring, (Cambridge: The Cambridge University Press, 1971), pp. 20-23; see also Zdenek Hejzlar, "K politice a vnitrnimu vyvoji KSC po roce 1948", op. cit., p. 82]
88 See Vladimir V. Kusin, The Intellectual Origins of the Prague Spring, op. cit., p. 44.
89 See ibid., p. 35.
90 Ibid., p. 43.
91 Ibid., p. 49.
92 Vojtech Mencl, Milos hajek, Milan Otahal and Erika Kadlecova, Krizovatky 20. stoleti: Svetlo na bila mista v nejnovejsich dejinach, op. cit., p. 286.
93 Listy, No. 3/1995: 52.
94 On the intermediate-range forces problematic and the conclusion of the treaty see, for example, Carl G. Jacobson, Strategic Power USA/USSR, eds., (London: Macmillan, 1990), pp. 115, 146, 148-149, 164, 229, 303, 377, 379, 421-433, 441, 479. In this way, a strategic and military adjustment preceded the political changes in Eastern Europe. In a corresponding way, the Soviet military doctrine was overhauled roughly in the period of 1985-1988. See, for example. ibid., pp. 489-491.
95 See Eugen Steiner, The Slovak Dilemma, op, cit., p. 159; Petr Pithart, Dejiny a politika, op. cit., p. 287.
96 Listy, 3/1995: 51.
97 Petr Pithart, Dejiny a politika, op. cit., p. 276.
98 This above comparative analysis is based on the unpublished analysis by M. Neudorfl, a Czech historian living in Canada.
99 Cf. Jiri Valenta, "The USSR and Czechoslovakia's Experiment with Eurocommunism: Reassessment after a Decade" in Hans Brisch and Ivan Volgyes, eds., Czechoslovakia: The Heritage of Ages Past, East European Monographs No. LI, New York: Columbia University Press, 1979), pp. 202-212; Vojtech Mencl, Milos hajek, Milan Otahal and Erika Kadlecova, Krizovatky 20. stoleti: Svetlo na bila mista v nejnovejsich dejinach, op. cit., p. 300.
100 Jiri V. Kotas, Czechoslovakia's Crossroads in the Twentieth Century (a personal essay), op. cit., pp. 32-33. For a while, Dubcek was resurrected as a symbolic figure in 1989, becoming a Chairman of the Federal Assembly to die in September 1992 in a rather strange traffic accident. Undoubtedly, Dubcek's death cleared the way for a relatively smooth disintegration of Czechoslovakia in 1992.
101 Ibid., p. 33. Kotas noted: "This gimmick was not without precedent. In 1956 for the same reason, Moscow approved the elevation of two other former prisoners, Poland's Gomulka and Hungary's Kadar." [Ibid., p. 33] Some methods are really repeated for their apparent success - once more testifying to the underlying continuity of a recurring self-styled policy.
102 Petr Pithart, Dejiny a politika, op. cit., p. 289.
103 Petr Pithart, Dejiny a politika, op. cit., p. 277, 302.
104 Eugen Steiner, The Slovak Dilemma, op. cit., pp. 177, 181.
105 Eugen Steiner, The Slovak Dilemma, op. cit., p 202; H.Gordon Skilling, Czechoslovakia's Interrupted Revolution, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), p. 453; Robert W. Dean, Nationalism and Political Change in eastern Europe: The Slovak Question and the Czechoslovak Reform Movement, (Denver: University of Denver, 1973), pp. 29-30, 58.
106 Carol Skalnik Leff, National Conflict in Czechoslovakia: The Making and Remaking of a State, 1918-1987, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988), p. 243.
107 See, for example, Vojtech Mencl, Milos hajek, Milan Otahal and Erika Kadlecova, Krizovatky 20. stoleti: Svetlo na bila mista v nejnovejsich dejinach, op. cit., p. 328; Jiri V. Kotas, Czechoslovakia's Crossroads in the Twentieth Century (a personal essay), op. cit., p. 29.
108 Petr Uhl a kolektiv, Program spolecenske samospravy, (Koln: Index, 1982), pp. 45, 65.
109 Alojz Lorenc, Ministerstvo strachu: Neskartovane vzpominky generala Lorence, (Bratislava: Tatrapress, 1992), p. 40. Lorenc himself defines in the title of his book the Communist ministry of interior pertinently as that responsible for fear, a Hobbesian fear perhaps.
110 Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, op. cit., p. 584.
111 See A. Hitler, Mein Kampf, op. cit., pp. 519-520.
112 Cf. Rio Preisner, Ceska existence, (London: Edice Rozmluvy, 1984), p. 125.
113 Jadwiga Staniszkis, The Ontology of Socialism, translated by Peggy Watson, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), p. 127.
114 Brian Chapman, Police State, (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970), p. 121.
115 H. Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, op. cit., p. 374.
116 Ibid., p. 377.
117 Alojz Lorenc, Ministerstvo strachu: Neskartovane vzpominky generala Lorence, op. cit., p. 11.
118 In Vaclav Havel, ed., Hostina: filozoficky sbornik, op. cit., p. 61. One cannot feel a certain suspicion that the said "sterility" was a sterility of the "top" projected as that of the whole "system".
119 See, for example, Zdenek Jicinsky, Cs. parlament v polistopadovem obdobi, (Praha: Nadas - Afgh. s.r.o., 1993), p. 15; Jaroslav Krejci, O cesstvi a evropanstvi, 2. dil (O ceskem narodnim charakteru), (Ostrava: Amosium servis, 1995), p. 95; Petr Uhl a kolektiv, Program spolecenske samospravy, (Koln: Index, 1982), p. 19.
120 For an account of the theories of convergence between socialism and capitalism and the related problematic, see, for example, S.P. Novoselova, S.S. Gilinova, J.A. Zamoskina, M.N. Ryndinoj and V.P. Filatova, eds., Problemy kommunisticeskogo dvizenija: nekotoryje voprosy teorii i metodologiji, (Moscow: Mysl, 1972), pp. 381-387; J.E. Bolkov, E.D. Modrzinskoj and V.I. Capanov, eds., Realnyj socializm i ego burzuaznyje fal'sifikatory, (Moscow: Mysl, 1977), pp. 117-128, 139-142, 144-5, 339-34; M.B. Mitin, L.A. Brutjan, C.K. Koroljev, eds., Socializm i ideologiceskaja bor'ba: tendenciji, formy i metody, (Moscow: Nauka, 1979), pp. 58-78; J.A. Krasin, M.I. Basmanov, B.M. Lejbzon and J.V. Sokolov, Ne sopernicestvo, a sotrudnicestvo!, (Moscow: Izdavatel'stvo politiceskoj literatury, 1984), The last cited book already documented the idea of convergence in practice by its very title "No fight, but cooperation instead!" Importantly, the book was published in 1984. It included such a chapter as "Communists for a dialogue" ( 210-218), "How to treat allies," that is, other non-Communist organizations (pp. 256-261). Moreover, the leading (and, thus, essential) role of the Communists was renounced: "The Communist are not demanding the leading role in the new social movements ...," moreover, claiming that they defend their "independence" instead (ibid., p. 256). Cf. also ibid., pp. 4-22, 87-97. Importantly, in this connection, the Russian authors noted a work by E. Fromm that is directly related to the discourse of the global state and end of history, especially his idea that in the XXth century man died, and in the XXIth century man is bound to become a robot [E. Fromm, The Dogma of Christ and other Essays in Religion, Psychology and Culture, (New York, 1973), p. 100] One of the first works on convergence were listed as W.Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth, A Non-Communist Manifesto, (Cambridge, 1960) and F. Perrou, La coexistence pacifique, (Paris, 1958).
121 Rio Preisner, Ceska existence, op. cit., 59.
122 Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, op. cit., pp. 156, 190, 327-328.
123 See George Steiner, In Bluebeard's castle: Some Notes towards the Redefinition of Culture, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971), p. 34; Vaclav Havel, Living in truth: Twenty-two essays published on the occasion of the reward of Erasmus Prize to Vaclav Havel, ed. by Jan Vladislav, pp. 13-14, 160. As Havel revealed (also in most of his plays), the petit-bourgeois character seems to be particularly interesting for the purpose of the political police - inter alia it is its ambiguity of identity and, thus, relative easiness of interchangeability of identities and ability to keep them secret because there is hardly any true identity as such. Such a character does not stand, it floats. Because such a person cannot reveal without a danger whom he represents, his own role is a barrier preventing him from achieving his true self. The result is a paranoic, absurd split of personality and existential anxiety that tends to present itself in some prominent cases as a profound and universal philosophical outlook.
124 On the petit-bourgeois roots of the new Communist bureaucracy under the command of narrow power elite see Petr Uhl and collective, Program spolecenske samospravy, (Koln: Index, 1982), pp. 190-192. On a notion that the "reformers" of 1968 were essentially "petty-bourgeois" and defined so by the power elite itself see Vladimir V. Kusin, The Intellectual Origins of the Prague Spring, (Cambridge: the Cambridge University Press 1971), p. 23.
125 See Allan Bullock, Hitler and Stalin: parallel lives, op., cit., p. 516. In this regard, Djilas rightly characterized Stalin as a "real and direct originator of the new communist class", i.e. the elite with apparent bias toward etatist petite bourgeoisie. [See Milovan Djilas, The New Class, (London, 1957), p. 41] The key power centre was shifted away from the party and its organs to the all-penetrating secret police that was beyond any public control and could flexibly and quickly adjust itself to any possible situation. In this way, real power and decision-making processes were transferred away from the public or semi-public realm. It can be argued that the purges among the party's members and, particularly, the liquidation of the original revolutionary guard were instrumental in the execution of this covered "revolution."
126 Shortly after the Velvet Revolution of 1989, the General Motors conducted a research on the number of millionaires in Czechoslovakia. The final estimate was around 100,000 persons and 50,000 multi-millionaires in a 15-million-person country. In 1947, in Czechoslovakia there were only 37,000 millionaires. However, a million of crowns in 1947 amounted to about one fifth of its value in 1989 - due to the monetary reform of 1953 that changed in one day the value of 50 crowns into one. [Slavomir Ravik, Totalni deziluze, (Praha: Prazska imaginace, 1992), pp. 55-56]
127 Jadwiga Staniszkis, The Ontology of Socialism, translated by Peggy Watson, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992), pp. 20-21. Branko Milanovic too noted that the first important laws paving the way to private property and capitalism had been adopted by the communist governments before their replacement by post-Communist regimes.The communist government of Rakowski abolished limits on private enterprise in Poland in January 1989 (similarly in Czechoslovakia). The capitalist economy began to be legally formed under the communist government in Hungary in 1988. In 1988, reforms aiming at free market economy were initiated by "Mikulic's staunchly communist government" in Yugoslavia. Constitutional amendments legalizing the capitalist development were adopted by the Communist-dominated legislature in Bulgaria in April 1990, and in the USSR in August 1990. Branko Milanovic, "Privatization Options and Procedures", in Arye L. Hillman and Branko Milanovic, ed., The Transition from Socialism in Eastern Europe, (Washington, D.C.: the World Bank, 1992), pp. 50-51. 41-82.
128 Jadwiga Staniszkis, The Ontology of Socialism, op. cit., p. 57.
129 Ibid., pp. 53-55, 57.
130 Ibid., pp. 144-145.
131 Ibid., p. 147.
132 Ibid., p. 163.
133 Oskar Krejci, Jak to prasklo, (Praha: Trio, 1991), p. 68.
134 Jadwiga Staniszkis, The Ontology of Socialism,I op. cit., pp. 74-75.
135 See, ibid., p. 88. In June 1989, only 12 per cent of the respondents believed that the Czechoslovak Communist party defends the interests of the workers. Only 16 per cent of the party members thought that the Communist parties takes care of the interests of all its members. There was a prevailing opinion that the party was a 'private institution' guarding the interests of a narrow ruling group. The politburo was perceived as the owner of the party that was used as an instrument for de-politicizing the society. In June 1989, it was established that 46 per cent of the party members would be willing to join the party again. In May 1989, 57 per cent of the party members expressed their lack of trust in the party leadership. De facto, the party's rank and file ceased to listen to the leaders who, thus, found themselves in a precarious situation and began a race with time. On the eve of the velvet takeover, the party was seen as in a deep ideological and psychological crisis. [Oskar Krejci, Jak to prasklo, (Praha: Trio, 1991), pp. 30-32, 36-37]
136 Jadwiga Staniszkis, The Ontology of Socialism, op. cit., p. 150.
137 Elliot Aronson, The Social Animal, (New York: W.H. Freeman and Company, 1992), pp. 193-194. This stealthy "changing of the coats" was well documented by an American research survey of 1991, that established a "virtual absence of adherence to Marxism-Leninism among the then Soviet elite". [Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 46, No. 6, 1994: 947]
138 Ibid., pp. 60-61. Kalypso Nicolaidis forwarded a concept of a "pattern of dependency and asymmetries of power" between East European countries and Western Europe. Nicolaidis holds that "the post-Cold War era may be characterized by 'western hegemony' toward the east. [Kalypso Nicolaidis, "East European Trade in the Aftermath of 1989: Did International Institutions Matter?" in Robert O. Keohane, Joseph S. Nye, and Stanley Hoffmann, eds., After the Cold War: International Institutions and State Strategies in Europe, 1989-1991, (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard UP, 1993), pp. 242-243] In this way, we can observe a certain dialectic negation of their preceding subjugation to the hegemony of the former USSR while dependence as such is maintained. For analyses of the Soviet hegemony and coherent politico-economic prediction/explanation of its breakdown, see, for example, Valerie Brunce, "The Empire Strikes Back: The Evolution of the Eastern Bloc from a Soviet Asset to a Soviet Liability", International Organization (1985), Vol. 39, No. 1: pp. 1-46; Stephen Gill and David Law, The Global Political Economy, (Baltimore: the John Hopkins University Press, 1993), p. 302-332. For the analysis of this Soviet hegemony and dependency of the Central and Eastern European countries, see, A. Abonyi and I. Sylvain, "Political Economy Perspectives on Integration", in P. Mayer and J. Montias, eds., East European Integration on East-West Trade, 1980; C. H. McMillan, "The Collapse of the regional System in Eastern Europe", in F. Hampson and C. Maule, eds., After the Cold War, Canada Among Nations, 1990-1991, (Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1991), pp. 176-81; Stephen Gill and David Law, The Global Political Economy, op. cit., p. 77.; Martin Schrenk, "The CMEA System of Trade and Payments: Initial Conditions for Institutional Change", in Arye L. Hillman and Branko Milanovic, The Transition from Socialism in Eastern Europe, op. cit., pp. 217-24; Arye L. Hillman and Adi Schnytzer, "Creating the Reform-Resistant Dependent Economy: Socialist Comparative Advantage, Enterprise Incentives, and the CMEA", in Hillman ed., op. cit., pp. 243-262, particularly, pp. 257-258.
139 Jadwiga, The Ontology of Socialism, op. cit., pp. 130-131.
140 Petr Uh, Program spolecenske samospravy, op. cit., p. 78.
141 Jaroslav Krejci, O cesstvi a evropanstvi, 2. dil (O ceskem narodnim charakteru), (Ostrava: Amosium servis, 1995), pp. 56, 77. In this connection, as Krejci indicated, "a decomposition begins from the head," and the appointees serving this process, having their identities and roles assigned from outside sources appear as "rotten, borrowed Is." [Jaroslav Krejci, O cesstvi a evropanstvi, 1. dil (O ceskem narodnim charakteru), (Ostrava: Amosium servis, 1993), p. 61.
142 Jaroslav Krejci, O cesstvi a evropanstvi, 1. dil (O ceskem narodnim charakteru), (Ostrava: Amosium servis, 1993), p. 37.
143 Alojz Lorenc, Ministerstvo strachu: Neskartovane vzpominky generala Lorence, (Bratislava: Tatrapress, 1992), p. 21.
144 See Vaclav Bartuska, Polojasno: Patrani po vinicich 17. listopadu 1989, (Praha: Exlibris, 1990), p. 89.
145 Jadwiga Staniszkis, The Ontology of Socialism, op. cit., 1992, p. 43.
146 Quoted and analyzed within a broader cultural context of Czechoslovakia in Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz, The Silenced Theatre: Czech Playwrights without a Stage, (Toronto: University of Toronto Press 1979), p. 87.
147 Alojz Lorenc, Ministerstvo strachu: Neskartovane vzpominky generala Lorence, op. cit., p. 21. Who was whose plagiariser? In this regard, the origin of another Havel's play is also interesting. With regard to one of his early plays The Memorandum, Havel himself confessed: "I don't really like to admit this, but the idea for an artificial language called 'ptydepe' was not mine: it came from my brother Ivan, who is a mathematician." [Vaclav Havel, Disturbing the Peace: A conversation with Karel Hvizdala, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990), p. 60] Again, we learn from Alojz Lorenc that the idea of this "artificial language" had a very concrete background - it was linked with the then research conducted by the secret police (with a personal involvement of Lorenc himself) related to constructing a fully automated machine for (de)coding secret ciphers. In this regard, Lorenc expressly also referred to the work by Havel's brother Ivan Havel, particularly his article"The Regular events and regular Expressions in Kybernetika" that was to be of some significance for the said research. [Alojz Lorenc, Ministerstvo strachu: Neskartovane vzpominky generala Lorence, p. 32] Perhaps, the interrelation between Communism, theatre and secret police is one of the most inspirative sources of modern nihilism. Interestingly, Lorenc and Havel also share the same contempt for people who live in prefabricated high-rises called "rabbit-hutches," housing a great number of Czechs. [See ibid., p. 47]
148 Petr Uhl, Program spolecenske samospravy, op. cit., pp. 73-74.
149 Carol Skalnik Leff, National Conflict in Czechoslovakia: The Making and Remaking of a State, 1918-1987, op. cit., pp. 274-275. In this connection, Leff reminded us that "international forces have recurrently offered an entree to dissatisfied Slovaks." [Ibid., p. 275] This applies, for example, to Germany, the Vatican and Hungary that followed deliberately the line of trying to foment and support the internal discords and separation during the years of the First Republic.