It has been 15 years since Czech got its independence in Velvet
Revolution. Since then the country has had to develop its structures
from almost nothing. Communist system didn’t work and now
they are paying the price. Although Czechs have wonted to make
clear line between old and new system some heritage has still
been left. One example is incredible bureaucracy that is not all
to be communist achievement since some are from time of Austro-Hungarian
Czech is not yet a West European country in its full meaning
but is developing such in a very high rate. Step by step Czechs
have taken course towards Europe because they want forget the
east. This part of Europe is in the middle of identity crisis.
It has been common to speak Czech, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia
as East European countries. Well, now these countries want to
change the concept of Central Europe by declaring to be the centre
of Europe. Former Central Europe is only hegemony of Germans.
It has been difficult to define Central Europe. One suggestion
is that Central Europe is the former Austro-Hungarian area. Poland
has a weird way to approach this matter. They don’t want
to be even Central Europeans but Europeans. Well, in any case
identity is more correct then Finnish have since they sometimes
forgot even being Europeans.
It is wonderful that East Europe wants to be a part of Europe.
Only with hard will they can come respectful European Union countries.
Czechs still has a lot of difficulties to overcome but like said
will and deeds to overcome these has happened.
What happens in Czech today
The biggest news right now in Czech is governmental crisis and
it is not small. I would call it as a learning of new ways to
work. Things don’t work anymore like they did 15 years ago.
Prime minister (Social Democrat) has not yet been able to give
good explanation where he got his money to his luxurious apartment
and why his wife has some strange business going on. But its not
so uncommon since there are several ministers of government waiting
for trial and some facing even 8 years of sentence. These unstable
times aren’t liked by investors and those are just what
Czech would need right now.
An other thing that is in news right now are badly built concrete
high-rises (apartments) from communist era called panelaks. During
communist era people were forced to move to cities because industrialisation
needed workers. For this growing population they needed building
to live. These buildings were constructed with Stalinist style
– fast and with no consideration. Nowadays these panelaks
aren’t in good condition, balconies are falling down and
elevators don’t work. I am talking about a small problem
since one third of Czechs live in panelaks. Around Czech there
is 80 000 falling panelaks. To repair them would cost half of
the government’s one-year budget. Czechs have called for
aid of EU and I hope it’ll come or these panelak suburbans
are becoming slum areas with lot of problems. It’s nice
to know that Kolej Hostivar is one of these panelaks. Luckily
they have done some painting here and I haven’t found any
Well, anyway if you are looking for apartment in Prague you should
find out when it has been done. There are other problems concerning
panelak areas. These areas were built so fast that they didn’t
think about services and leisure time of people living there.
Some Czechs think this is quite depressing. There are some villages
where 97% of buildings are panelaks. Repairing these buildings
would call for a miracle. I think it is not worth keeping these
buildings since costs are much higher than in new buildings. For
example heating costs 15 to 30 % more in panelaks then it does
in new buildings. No wonder since our room was a sauna before
they fixed thermostats and window was open quite often. What a
When we first came here we wondered if every Czech smokes. This
assumption proved to be almost right. I have learned that 31%
of Czechs smoke – 39% of men and 23% of women. It is very
similar like in Germany and Italy. I am not sure if this is because
formula 1 is such popular in here but at least in Germany and
Italy it’s popular. Around of Europe governments are tightening
their smoking laws. It just became illegal to smoke at public
places in Ireland and Norway. Sweden and Finland are not so strict
but are following the same path. But there are still those countries
like Belgium that are run by mister Eclestone and by the way Belgium
has also highest divorce per sent in OECD countries (almost 70%).
Nowadays people in Czech smoke everywhere and anywhere they want.
For example when we went to by bus tickets the office lady smoked
in the other side of desk. We have also visited a restaurant where
waitress smoked when she served us and a clothing shop in the
centre of Veneclaus square where all the cloths smelled tobacco
like. You can imagine that these were the last times we visited
there. Czech government has also started to take the first steps
to squeeze the smokers. The price of cigarettes is raising 6 crowns
this year and 7 crowns next year. The law to forbid smoking at
public places was withdrawn but it might pass sometimes in spring.
This is said to decrease smoking about 10% to 31%.
Short review for Czech news
Finally small look about other news in Czech. Victims of communists
are now probably given money for their suffrage. They say its
too late and too small. Czech police has found child porn producers
whose customers were also teachers and camp leaders. Current law
doesn’t forbid holding or buying child porn and police refuses
to give names of teachers. This law is probably changed in future
as soon as they know who is going to make the laws.
Inspections to local supermarkets has proved that one third of
them have fixed prices. Especially products in sale are often
sold with normal price. Be careful.
Nigerians think once before writing emails to Czechs after one
misfortune receiver who shot Nigerian Consul.
Mean while one other Czech flamed the most of Chiles most popular
National Park. Really good for relations of these counties and
reputation of Czechs. Well, shit happens when you’re active.
There is a lack of judges in Czechs especially after president
used his VETO to nominate new ones. He though they were kids and
inexperienced. Probably right since they were under 30-years old.
And there is one historical story. Psychiatric Cyril Hoeschl
told to the Office of Documentation of the Crimes of Communism
that Jan Masaryk was actually murdered and didn’t commit
suicide. Well, who would have figured that the communists were
lying. It’s been a habit of Czechs to through out of window
(defenestrating) those in charge who are not accepted. From very
high I think. This happened also to Masaryk, the son of the firs
president of Czech who was then prime minister and only non-communist