Starting three decades ago this Sunday, people in Czechoslovakia threw off communism with remarkable speed in the heady days of 1989. The Velvet Revolution soon swept out one of the most rigid of Soviet Bloc regimes, in place since the crushing of the Prague Spring two decades earlier. But thirty years on, the euphoria and seeming certainties that came with the ensuing integration into the European Union and NATO are gone. The former student activist leader Vaclav Bartuska joins Susan and Greg to look back at the birth of a free society in Czechoslovakia and discuss the Velvet Revolution’s significance today.


The Cable is a production of ICWA and the Transatlantic Democracy Working Group.

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Ambassador-at-Large for Energy Security, Czech Republic

Student leader in the Velvet Revolution, 1989




Executive Director, Institute of Current World Affairs

Journalist, author of Russians: The People Behind the Power



Director, Transatlantic Democracy Working Group

Senior fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States



The Cable is produced by Rebecca Picard



Lead image credit: Josef Šrámek ml.,