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Former Czech president Václav Havel died

photo:  (mzv.cz)

Václav Havel, the first president of Czech Republic (1993 – 2003), playwright, essayist and opponent of the communist regime, died on December 18. Havel was 75 years old.

During the 1960s, Václav Havel worked at the Divadlo Na zábradlí (Theater On the Balustrade), where he became famous thanks to the plays The Garden Party (1963) and The Memorandum (1965). During the Prague Spring, he joined the political debate and advocated the introduction of democracy. Following the forcible suppression of the reforms in a military invasion by Warsaw Pact countries, he was banned from publishing and became one of the prominent dissidents, persons who criticized the then 'normalization' regime. He acted in defense of political prisoners and become a co-founder and one of the first spokespersons of the Charta 77 (Charter 77) civic initiative for human rights. This increased his international prestige, but at the same time earned him a total of approximately five years of imprisonment.

After the outbreak of the Velvet Revolution in November 1989, Václav Havel became one of the founders of the Civic Forum anti-communist movement and, as its candidate, was elected President of Czechoslovakia on 29 December 1989. He advocated the country's transformation to a parliamentary democracy and integration into the political framework of the Western world. In 1992, however, he failed to prevent the breakup of the Czechoslovak state. From 1993, he served for two terms as the President of the Czech Republic, leading the country from the Warsaw Pact to NATO. He also promoted the accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union.

As a writer, Václav Havel is famous worldwide for his drama works in the spirit of the Theater of the Absurd, where he examines such topics as power, bureaucracy, and language, as well as for his essay works. In addition to political analyses, his essays and letters from prison confront such philosophical issues as freedom, power, morality, and transcendence.
Source: mzv.cz
Added: 19.12.2011

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