Bratislava, Slovakia – As Slovakia and the Czech Republic prepare to commemorate the anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, a new study highlights notable differences in how both countries assess their recent history.
30 years after Velvet Revolution, Czechs more optimistic about current state of affairs
According to the survey, Czechs have a more positive view of the Velvet Revolution than their Slovak neighbours, with respectively 66% and 56% of the population seeing the 1989 peaceful protests that led to the collapse of communism in a positive light. On the other hand, the 1993 split of Czechoslovakia and emergence of two independent states was assessed more positively in Slovakia (64%) than in the Czech Republic (50%).
Broadly speaking, Slovaks appear much more nostalgic of the pre-1989 era than their Czech neighbours. Only 10% of Czechs assess positively the communist coup taking over power in 1948, compared to 35% of Slovaks, proof of “a greater liking to the previous regime in Slovakia than in the Czech Republic”, according to pollsters.
Only one third of Slovak respondents (33%) view the communist regime negatively, compared to more than half of Czechs (55%). Moreover, more than one fifth of Slovaks believe that the situation of their country today is worse than it was before 1989 (compared to only 12% in the Czech Republic), and only a slight majority of them agree that the 1989 regime change was worth it (59%, compared to 73% of Czechs).
Slovaks more nostalgic about pre-1989 era
“The Czech public is more positively tuned and assesses all aspects we look into a bit more positively than Slovaks”, sociologist Paulina Tabery told the Czech News Agency (CTK). “Not only when we asked general questions if the change was worth it or about the situation before and after November, but also in particular spheres of life, Czechs are always optimistic, speaking about improvement to a higher extent than Slovaks”.
Pollsters asked Czechs and Slovaks a dozen of questions to compare the current and pre-1989 situation in different areas of life of life. Czechs show greater optimism about today’s situation in every single aspect, except for one: Slovaks are more prone (55%) than Czechs (45%) to believe that they can influence political decisions more today than before 1989.
Czechs and Slovaks’ view on joining EU and NATO
It’s however important to point out that Czechs’ optimism doesn’t apply to two significant events in both countries’ recent history: Slovaks hold a more positive view regarding their country’s accession to NATO (51%) and the European Union (61%) than their Czech counterparts, where only a minority of the population assess positively joining the North Atlantic Alliance (49%) and the EU (45%).
You can check out the complete results of the poll right here (only in Czech language), that was conducted in September by the Czech Public Opinion Research Centre (CVVM) and Slovakia’s Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Sociology.