Vaclav Klaus, the President of the Czech Republic, signed the anti-communist resistance bill initiated by the deputies of the government. Thus, the most developed of Europe's former socialist countries has joined those who continue the fight against the "phantom of communism."
The bill has been approved by the two houses of the Czech parliament. Active participants of the anti-communist movement in 1948-1989 will receive financial compensations of 100,000 crowns (4,000 EUR). The wives and husbands of active anti-communists will receive smaller compensations - 50,000 crowns. If the pension of an anti-communist is lower than the average, the pension will be raised to the average level.
The law is expected to come in effect on November 17, when the Czech Republic celebrates the Day of Struggle for Freedom and Democracy.
The right for the compensation will be provided to those people, who served prison terms for political reasons and to the participants of the Prague Spring of 1968. Those, who showed active resistance to the deployment of Soviet troops and the troops of other countries of the Warsaw Pact, will also receive compensations. Former members of the Communist Party, state security officers, policemen and activists of the friendship between the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia will not have an opportunity to receive compensations. This detail obviously carries a tinge of Russhophobia.
There are several strange regulations in the document. For example, certain members of the anti-communist resistance may obtain the title of military veterans. Those people will be likened to the fighters against Nazi invaders during WWII. It is worthy of note that there were no large anti-communist military or guerrilla groups in the socialist Czechoslovakia. Only a few incidents occurred in the country during 41 years of communist rule.
The Czechoslovak army did not show any organized armed resistance, not even during the suppression of the events of the Prague Spring, when Soviet troops and the troops of other countries of the Warsaw Pact were deployed in the country in August 1968.
The bill was approved by the votes of the representatives of center-right forces of the ruling coalition - the Civil and Democratic party, the conservative TOP-09 and the centrist Public Affairs party. Former dissidents sharing anti-communist and Russophobic sentiments still play an active role in those organizations.
Communists expressed their concerns about the approval of the bill. According to them, the document violates the principle of people's equality before the law. Social Democrats offered to introduce amendments to the bill, but the amendments were rejected.
President Vaclav Klaus signed the document. However, he wrote on his website that he was dissatisfied with certain regulations of the bill. In a letter to lower house chairwoman Miroslava Nemcova he wrote the following:
"I don't believe in the purely artless sincerity of the bill's authors, I don't believe in the deep conviction of those who passed it, I don't believe in the attempt to use a law to describe history and to 'cope with' our past in this alibi-seeking way now, 22 years after the fall of communism," Klaus wrote to Nemcova.
Klaus also wrote that he did not believe that all who really "undermined and threatened" the communist regime would seek official recognition for it by means of the new law. Nevertheless, the president signed the law not to cause a split in the society.
It is hard not to agree with President Klaus. This document was made to simply settle scores with history. All the laws about compensations to the victims of the communist regime were passed in the beginning of the 1990s, during the existence of Czechoslovakia.
Two laws "about lustration" were approved in 1991-1992. In accordance with those laws, former high-ranking officials of the Communist Party were deprived of the right to take state positions. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was condemned for political repressions, human rights violations and suppression of freedom and democracy. One of the documents from those years said that the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia was a criminal organization, the goal of which was to suppress democracy and deprive people of their rights. The law affected 140,000 people.
Does the country need to pass any new documents now? Everything seems to have been settled. The "anti-communist inquisition" - the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes - appeared in the Czech Republic in the beginning of the 1990s. The employees of the institute are convinced that they do not expose and punish much in their work. In their ardent work "for the truth," they exposed the names of sitting secret service officials last year.
There is also the Museum of Communism in Prague. A person visiting the museum will be told that everything was terrible in the socialist Czechoslovakia. The economy was ineffective, the ecology was poor - and it was all because of the Soviet Union that imposed its power in the country.
The country was struggling against history during the presidency of former dissident Vaclav Havel. History textbooks paint the socialist Czechoslovakia period only black. There is practically no balanced research analyzing all pluses and minuses of what was happening in the country from 1948 to 1989.
However, the Czech Republic is compared favorably with Poland, the Baltic States and Hungary. The Czech Republic did not ban the Communist Party. It is represented in the parliament and regularly receives over ten percent of votes during elections. The country did not ban communist symbols either. It seemed that the anti-communist and Russophobic hysteria was subsiding.
Last year, though, the Czech Republic formed the government of center-right parties. As a result, the government was offered to name the airport of Prague after US President Ronald Reagan for his efforts in destroying communism. There was also a suggestion made to deduct certain amounts from the incomes of former communist officials in favor of the victims of communism. The suggestion has not taken a legal form yet.
On behalf of the parties of the ruling coalition, Prime Minister Petr Necas, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg and former Interior Minister Radek John put forward a suggestion to pass the law which would equate communism and fascism with "totalitarian phenomena." Schwarzenberg, and his counterparts from Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and Hungary, signed the letter to the European Commission to equate the crimes of communism to Nazi crimes.
"One should approach totalitarian crimes equally. Frankly speaking, Stalin managed to kill even more people. They both [Stalin and Hitler] were mass murderers, and those who served them were their associates," the Czech minister said.
The Czech Republic has not suffered much from the economic crisis. If the state of affairs in the country does not worsen, if the country does not face the necessity to hold special elections, the anti-communist circus will stay in power in the country before 2014. One shall assume that the anti-communist and anti-Russian show will continue both inside and outside the country.