Press Conferences

26. 2. 2008 13:52

Press Briefing of the Prime Minister Mirek Topolánek after his Meeting with Granddaughter of Alois Rašín, Mrs. Jana Rašínová, held on 4th February 200

Jana Bartošová, Government Spokesperson: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the press briefing, which is held on the occasion of the meeting of the Prime Minister, Mr. Mirek Topolánek with granddaughter of the First-Republic Minister of Finance Alois Rašín – Mrs. Jana Rašínová. I ask the Prime Minister of his introductory speech.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Dear Mrs. Rašínová, and now I must not confuse that surname, dear Bleidmosers. I would like to explain to journalist that Mrs. Rašínová is granddaughter of Alois Rašín and her daughter and grandchildren are here with her. I am very pleased that we succeeded in bringing descendents of Alois Rašín – one of men of 28th October 1918 - to Prague, in spite of the fact that it was not exactly on the day of remembrance; a very piquant thing is that we are here, in the Kramář's villa. As an introduction, let me say something about Alois Rašín, who was rather neglected person not only during the totalitarian era but also after November 1989. Courageous life of Alois Rašín, as he was really very courageous man, was finished by a bullet of a murderer, assassin, anarchist, and communist, who shot and wounded him on 5th January 1923, and Alois Rašín was fighting for his life until 18th February, which also characterized him. I am of the opinion that if there are people who would be worth giving a message to our politicians in the Czech Republic, then it is just him. He studied law in Prague and was engaged in the lawsuit against Omladina movement, as well as tens of then students who were fighting against Austria; he was condemned, he lost his degree, but that was only the beginning of his permanent fight for the truth. He was condemned to death in the lawsuit with so called "Mafia" in 1915. He was bearing the verdict the most courageously from among all condemned men, including Karel Kramář, Červinka and others. He was even laughing during reading the verdict. Facts that he was finally sentenced to ten years imprisonment, that well-known historical events led to his rehabilitation, and that he re-obtained his academic degree for the second time, are facts which just characterize that era. Alois Rašín was a courageous man in his professional life, as well. Hardly anybody reads his book "Speeches in the National Assembly" is which his speeches in the National Assembly are described in detail; not only speeches of the revolutionary period but also speeches given after the formation of the First Republic, when he, as the Minister of Finance, promoted very strict budgetary and monetary policy. Thanks to Rašín, the Czech crown became one of the hardest currencies of the world. Despite great opposition in then National Assembly, Rašín enforced number of measures, such as closing off of frontiers, stamping of banknotes, or even withdrawal of part of that banknotes from circulation, so that to avert speculations, printing new banknotes, and inflation. The Czech crown was bases on firm bases. He was fighting for the hard currency; he was involved in arguments with his colleagues, with his party colleague Engliš and number of other people. Well-known became his statement, which he had addressed to legionnaires and that is why he had a lot of arguments with them: "There is no wage for the work for the mother country." That was a very courageous statement if we see it from the present point of view. He was afraid that the assassination may have had its origin in these circles. We know nowadays that it was not like that, we know that it was a brutal attack of a communist, which perhaps augured number of further political murders, even though it was the only one completed assassination, in fact. I would like to say about Rašín that for me he is a man who always protected his truth and enforced it, in spite of the fact that it was unpopular. And especially in this time, in the time of stabilization of public budgets, when those relatively small changes are so strictly refused by media and by the public, the attitudes of Rašín are something that inspires me significantly. I am very glad that Mrs. Rašínová is here, I will give her the floor. I am very glad we can meet here in Prague, just in this time, in spite of the fact that our meeting is rather sad, as we honour her grandfather's memory; it is characteristic for this time that we start to evaluate formation of the Czechoslovak Republic not only from the view of those well-known icons but we are penetrating into the depth, and thus we can judge better our era. Thank you.
Jana Bartošová, Government Spokesperson: I thank the Prime Minister and now Mrs. Jana Rašínová has the floor.
Jana Rašínová: First of all, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for inviting us to honour the memory of my grandfather. I am happy to be able to come and to take part in it.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I do not know if there are any questions ...
Jana Bartošová, Government Spokesperson: ... if you have any questions. Yes, there is one question there.
Daniel Takáč, Česká televize: I would like to know, Prime Minister, whether you are planning any similar meetings. Thank you.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: Close encounters of the third kind. I think I cannot say what I am planning. But this anniversary is very significant and this year will be very interesting because there is that demonic number eight in it. We will certainly be celebrating just the anniversary of the year 1918, and that is why we invited Mrs. Rašínová. We will certainly be engaged in further magic eights. I do not have any concrete, strictly specified plan, but I regarded as a good idea to invite descendents of Alois Rašín to Prague just in this time and just because of this anniversary, and I am proud of myself.
Jana Bartošová, Government Spokesperson: Thank you, if there are no further questions ... excuse me.
A journalist: Good afternoon, I would like to ask a question I use this opportunity - you are granddaughter. We know your grandfather through encyclopaedias, but can you tell us how do you yourself remember him? Do you have any childhood memories, something funny or so?
Jana Rašínová: I am very old woman, in fact, but not so old to had an opportunity to meet him. I was born fifteen years after his death, but of course that my grandmother, my mother and friends of my grandfather who knew him had some memories, and so I have their memories. I must say that in spite of the fact he seemed to be very strict and sometime explosive on the public, in the family life he was the kindest man and he was loved by his children; he had wife and three children and his tragic death was a terrible blow for all of them.
Jana Bartošová, Government Spokesperson: Thank you, are there any further questions? We thank for your attention and we will continue at the cemetery.
Mirek Topolánek, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic: I wish you to have a nice day.

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