On the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the Velvet Revolution the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic

H. E. Mr. Lukáš Kaucký, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic - H. E. Mr. Manuel Korček, and his wife Mrs. Monika Korčeková gave a reception on Tuesday, 19th November, 2019 at the Embassy of the Slovak Republic. 

It was attended by numerous guests and the atmosphere created by the hosts was extremely friendly and warm.

H. E. Mr. Manuel Korček, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic to the Republic of Bulgaria, greeted the guests, recalling the historic event and its importance:

Cordially welcome at the joint Slovak and Czech reception in order to mark anniversary of the Velvet revolution of 1989 in Czechoslovakia. In those years the majority of population was dissatisfied with the existing political and economic system. The change especially in the context of so-called perestroika was in the air.

Mass demonstration in Bratislava 1988 and commemoration of Jan Palach in Prague in January 1989 had not brought the change. Only after the brutal crackdown of a student demonstration on 17 November the Velvet revolution started. It was few days after the Berlin Wall fell; people in Czechoslovakia went to streets again knocking down the wall of fear in their minds and planting seeds of civil society. The main driver of changes in Slovakia was a movement called Public Against Violence – requesting cancellation of political monopoly of the communist party. The Velvet revolution created system of political pluralism, respect of civic rights and freedom, rule of law and prosperity based on social-market economy.

People of Slovakia as many other European nations did not choose to stay behind the iron curtain. For example in the elections in 1946 more than 60 % of Slovaks supported the Democratic party. Czechoslovakia wanted to take part in the Marshall plan. In 1968 the attempt for political change was violently suppressed from outside. Only after the VELVET REVOLUTION in 1991 more than 73 000 soviet soldiers and their 3700 tanks and armed vehicles left Czechoslovakia.

And only After the Velvet Revolution Czechoslovakia and later individually the Czech Republic and Slovakia could decide freely the way of their development, which we saw in the example of democratic and prosperous countries of the West and also based on experience of the first democratic Czechoslovakia.

In conclusion, let me quote my Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, who said in Berlin few days ago: "The Fall of Berlin wall is a symbol of freedom, democracy and unification of Germany as well as whole Europe. Currently, the dialogue and mutual understanding is getting more important not only among states but also within societies. This is why this anniversary is a monument of our history but also a strong message for our future."

After these words, H. E. Mr. Manuel Korček gave the floor to his colleague - H. E. Mr. Lukáš Kaucký, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to the Republic of Bulgaria. He said:

The Velvet Revolution of 1989 is a historic event affirming the strength and unwavering will of people to fight totalitarianism, the courage of students to defend freedom, human and civil rights. It is proof that freedom, the rule of law, but also humanity, respect and respect for the opinion of the other are the cornerstones of the Czech and Slovak Republics.

Our nations managed to protect these values, this legacy of Masaryk Czechoslovakia, from the destructive power of the totalitarian regime. For decades, communist will has not taken away our belief in justness, solidarity and free society. 30 years ago, we were able to get out and talk about these values aloud again.

In this connection I believe that democracy and the rule of law must be defended and protected permanently and courageously. As our ancestors did in November 1939. We should protect the indisputable value of our membership of the European Union, where we could return thanks to November 1989. Any authoritarian regime, any isolation of our countries outside the EU would be against the essential interests of our nations. It would mean economic and social decline and certainly dismantle today's freedom and civil rights.

We simply cannot afford to take our freedom for granted. Our bitter experience between 1938 and 1989 has shown us that. But our progress over the last 30 years has also shown the world what people can do when the shackles of oppression are removed and they are given their fundamental right to live as free individuals.

These are lessons that we must never forget.

The spirit of the Velvet Revolution must live on in our hearts.

And it really lives. The spirit of the Velvet Revolution was felt by the guests present at the event, who long after the words of the two ambassadors continued to talk about it, share memories, facts and opinions.

Photos provided by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in the Republic of Bulgaria.

Above: H. E. Mr. Lukáš Kaucký, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic and H. E. Mr. Manuel Korček, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic