In Old Habits
We apologize to our youth and to all citizens who have been affected by unjustified repression, and we apologize to the children of those parents who have suffered sanctions for subsequent generations. We apologize for all the hardships and to all members of the party who, due to their reformist positions, or for their opposition to the illegal entry of the troops of the Warsaw five countries in 1968, had to leave the Communist Party and lose their status as equal citizens. We also feel obliged to express our regret at the fact that the former party leadership has in recent years explicitly and illegally disregarded the right to express views about independent civic initiatives, including Charter 77. We are also aware of the responsibility of our entire membership base to fail to prevent this.
From the statement of the delegates at the extraordinary congress of the Communist Party (20th-21st December, 1989)
The communist regime in Czechoslovakia maintained its existence through an ideological power monopoly, varying degrees of repression, and the associated suppression of civil rights and freedom. Between 1948 and 1989, the communist authorities committed hundreds and thousands of crimes that could not be detected, investigated and punished until the fall of the totalitarian regime. The Communist party apologized in December 1989 without questioning the foundations of the communist regime. The post November revolution investigation became a specific part of a complex and complicated process of coming to terms with this communist past, which was, particularly from the point of view of the victims, quite insufficient.
In November 1989, after the intervention of the security forces against a peaceful student demonstration, the communist regime collapsed. The hopes for transformation from an Orthodox Marxist-Leninist party to a modern left-wing entity did not materialize. Almost alone in Central Europe, the party retained the communist label and remained an anti system formation, yet it gradually gained significant influence in the party system. In just the short period of 1989-1990, the Communist Party was led by Karel Urbánek (1941), Ladislav Adamec (1926-2007) and Vasil Mohorita (1952). In March 1990, the founding congress of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia took place (the Party of the Democratic Left was later formed in Slovakia). It was headed in 1990-1993 by Jiří Svoboda (1945), in 1993-2005 by Miroslav Grebeníček (1947) and since 2005 by Vojtěch Filip (1955).
Several politicians were expelled from the Communist Party in December 1989, including Miloš Jakeš (1922-2020), former Secretary General of the Communist Party Central Committee. Nevertheless, he regularly attended the May Day meetings of the Communist party. Pictured at the Prague Holešovice Exhibition Grounds in 2017 (photo: Petr Blažek)
The monument to the victims of communism situated in Újezd street, Prague, was created by sculptor Olbram Zoubek (photo: Petr Blažek)
Remembrance gathering at the site of the secret burial ground of opponents and victims of the totalitarian regime in Prague’s Ďáblice on the 27th of June 2019 (photo: Petr Blažek)
Speech by the President of the Czech Republic Miloš Zeman at the 10th Congress of the Communist party of Bohemia and Moravia in Nymburk on the 21st of April, 2018 Vít Šimánek)