ISSUE 3-2002
Daniel Koshtoval Pavel Cernoch Ярослав Шимов
Jan Barta Александр Куранов
Димитрий Белошевский Fyodor Podstolnyi
Ярослав Шимов
Игорь Некрасов
Henry Frendo

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles and/or discussions are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views or positions of the publisher.


The new issue of our journal is devoted to two historical anniversaries. 50 years have passed since the start of the occupation of what used to be Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact armies led by the Soviet Army which stayed in Czechoslovakia until 1991.

We also commemorate the centenary of the establishment of independent republics in the Caucasus, whose existence did not have too long a duration but whose founding represented an interesting attempt to build democratic states independent of Russia and its totalitarianism. This independence was quickly destroyed by the Bolshevik army and an attempt to establish independent states only met with success 70 years later. However, the Russian neighbour still presents a considerable threat to these states today.

Both anniversaries have something in common. We can speak about unfulfilled wishes and goals. We can only speculate where the Caucasian republics would have been today if they had been in the position to develop their statehood beyond the two brief years. However, we know that the effort needed to establish an independent state did eventually pay off.

There was no chance to realize the proclaimed goals in the second case. A reform of the communist system which would give greater freedom to the citizens without political pluralism or an improvement of the communist economy without radical changes in the sphere of private ownership entailed a contradiction which proved to be fatal. Moreover, this attempt was thwarted by the virtue of Czechoslovakia's membership in organizations which curtailed any such effort.

However, the Czechoslovak experiment sent an important message to our times. It clearly demonstrated that communism does not lend itself to reform. Any serious attempt to do so was bound to lead either to the destruction of the regime, which is what happened in the U.S.S.R., or to the liquidation of such an attempt by force.

The Czechoslovak experiment also proved that any totalitarian or autocratic regime cannot coexist with freedom of speech. Sooner or later any effort to introduce some elements of freedom of speech leads to the destruction of the system because totalitarianism is based on a twisted interpretation of reality that precludes any other but the officially prescribed interpretation. 

It can be argued that the Warsaw Pact tanks saved the image of the Czechoslovak reformers. The process was hurtling towards a point of no return where the reformers would have had to make a choice between putting a stop to the process which they had launched and over which they had been gradually losing all control or passively observing how the communist regime would be annihilated. The above mentioned tanks had also saved for posterity various versions of the so called "third way".

This issue also contains a contribution to the analysis of the year 1918 and its impact on the subsequent development of Central and Eastern Europe. This process was interrupted by WWII which brought about a different kind of organization of Central and Eastern Europe. However, one totalitarian regime was substituted by a little less dangerous system, i.e. the establishment of the current order in Central and Eastern Europe. Let us hope that it will be more successful than the previous attempt. 

Our editorial board wishes you interesting reading and a nice summer holiday.     



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