The events in Czechoslovakia and elsewhere in eastern Europe in late 1989 were genuinely revolutionary in character. This is so in the sense that the positions of the powerless and the powerful changed such that those who were in jail, threatened with jail or freshly freed from jail took control of the apparatus of state power and those that had held it were reduced to the status of political outcasts. It is also true in the wider sense that the economy and the social base which it engendered were destined for change at the most fundamental level. Finally, it shared in common with other genuine revolutions the deviant characteristic of not in fact being able to entirely remove members of the old elite from the establishment. The former communists who did survive, however, could wield authority as individuals but not as representatives of a power structure which the revolution had demolished.


Czech Republic Socialist Economy Liberal Democracy Economic Transformation Czech Society 
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  1. 1.
    See Carol Skalnik Leff, The Czech and Slovak Republics — Nation Versus State (Oxford, Westview Press, 1998).Google Scholar

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© Robin H. E. Shepherd 2000

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