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The Underground and Czechoslovakia 1987–1988

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: October 11, 2022, 09:50 – 17:00

The seventh edition of a conference on the phenomenon of the Czech (and beyond) underground takes place this year.

After the harsh repression of the early 1980s, the second half of the decade saw the revival not only of the opposition scene but also of the so-called grey zone, awakened from lethargy by Moscow’s new political direction following the ascent of Mikhail Gorbachev to power and which, in mutated form, was also reflected in the highest echelons of the domestic Communist Party. For the normalization leadership, so-called perestroika and glasnost were a nightmare that denied everything the Husák, respectively Jakeš, regime was based on. The ossified leadership of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia viewed this reconstruction as its most serious crisis since February 1948. The short period of calm for the opposition, when the Communists were unsure of how far they could go, created the conditions for varied cultural output, as well as a stormy debate within Charter 77 on how to act toward the one-party government. In the end the crisis within Charter 77 led to the first genuine political demonstration since August 1969, which took place on Human Rights day, 10 December, 1987 on Old Town Square, an event that remains unjustly overlooked.

All this and more will be discussed by experts on the underground (and beyond) at this conference at the Václav Havel Library.

Organised by the Václav Havel Library in cooperation with the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes.


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