Northwestern Events Calendar


Democracy and Oligarchy in the Czech Republic

When: Monday, November 5, 2018
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM Central

Where: Scott Hall, Ripton Room, 201, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Elizabeth Morrissey  

Group: Equality Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS)

Co-Sponsor: Department of Political Science

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Mr. Lubomir Zaorálek: Oligarchs and Divisive Populism in the Czech Republic

Democracy in Czech lands was born one hundred years ago. However, democracy had to overcome a lot of difficulties. For the last time, democracy was restored in 1989 after the collapse of Soviet Empire. Today, it seems that the Czech Republic and the USA have very similar problems and challenges. Nationalistic oligarchs are very successful in politics with their easy answers on difficult questions. The USA which was helping Czechs with establishing their own first democracy is looking away from the Europe. Populist policy of oligarchs, which puts national interests on the first place, is splitting us. Can democracy unite us?

Prof. Ondřej Lánský: The Czech Oligarchical System since 1989

The Velvet Revolution was the turning point of Czech history in the last 30 years. It was a non-violent transition of power from a one-party system governed by the Communist Party to a democratic political system of competing parties. It was comprised of student and popular protests against the authoritarian political and legal system. But beneath these visible political events and transformations, another process also emerged. The transformation of the economic system can be delineated as a trajectory from a planned economy to a liberal economic system, or shortly to capitalism. This transition to a capitalist economy was marked by the emergence of new social classes which benefited socially and economically from the transition: the new middle class, the new capitalists and primarily the new oligarchs. My paper will inquire into this emergence of the oligarchs and a new system of politics and economy which was established after 1989. The understanding of this profound process explains the contemporary situation in the Czech Republic which is in many respects very similar to other Central European countries (e.g. Poland or Hungary).

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