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25. 6. 2008 10:09

June 25, 2008: An Exhibition on Prague Spring 1986 Opens in Berlin

An exhibition called "The Faces of the Prague Spring – 1968 in Czechoslovak Photography" today opened in Berlin. Its inauguration in Paul Löbe House was attended by Premier Mirek Topolánek of the Czech Republic and Premier Robert Fico of Slovakia. The display is part of a commemorative event to mark the 40th anniversary of the Prague Spring democratization movement.

“The Prague Spring may have started as an effort by a group of forward-looking communists to keep in power in a situation when the Stalinist model of socialism had proved to be untenable. But it ended as a spontaneous civic movement. As a movement of free citizens who resisted the Soviet occupation at a time when their leaders had already given up.

I am convinced that the overall value of this spontaneous movement is not reduced by the fact that it proceeded in a communist country. On the contrary. Each concession the Communist Party was forced to make then was all the more valuable. What I have in mind in particular was the lifting of censorship. That was a key moment which made it possible freely to disseminate ideas and opinions even in a country with one-party rule,“ Czech Premier Topolánek said at the inauguration of the exhibition.

In addition to opening the exhibition, the Czech Premier today also had talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Federal Republic of Germany and Norbert Lammert, Chairman of the Bundestag. They discussed, for instance, the introduction of the free movement of labour in the European Union, and preparations for the Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union and its priorities.

Part of the commemorative event was a concert given in the Concert House and attended by the Czech and Slovak Premiers and the German Chancellor. Its programme included performances by Czech opera singers Gabriela Beòaèková and Eva Urbanová.

The entire speech by Czech Premier Mirek Topolánek is available on the Government’s web portal

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