The World of the Two Václavs

Muriel Blaive and Nicolas Maslowski

in European Stories

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199594627
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595738 | DOI:
The World of the Two Václavs

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Muriel Blaive and Nicolas Maslowski argue that the Czech heritage has been mobilised in two opposite directions in relation to “Europe”: in an ethnic and isolationist direction which rejects Europe as a danger (Václav Klaus) and in a humanist direction emphasising individual responsibility, the heritage of the Enlightenment, and dissidence (Václav Havel). Blaive and Maslowski underline that “Central Europe” can be considered as an “intellectual gate” which predetermines attitudes both on Europe as a whole and on domestic issues. Central Europe, Europe, humanism, human rights, civil society, ecology were historically shaped as one and the same weapon against the communist regime, and still go hand in hand today. Conversely, the Klaus trend, despite its professed anti‐communism, appears largely as the heir to pan‐Slavism and former anti‐Western propaganda. In many aspects, Klaus' denunciation of “Europeanism” as a substitute ideology to socialism echoes some part of the Romanian debate.

Keywords: dissidence; Central Europe; civil society; Václav Klaus; Václav Havel; pan‐Slavism; communism

Chapter.  8639 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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