Havel — Power to the Powerless

  • Robin H. E. Shepherd


By the end of the 1990s the Czech people were beginning to show as much weariness at their playwright president as he was so evidently feeling at the demands of his office. Opinion polls had moved against him,1 with some showing a small majority believing he should step down because of the chronic ill health he had suffered since undergoing lung cancer surgery in 1996. Criticism of Havel was less and less taboo in the newspaper columns and among mainstream politicians, hinting that the moral stature which had always outweighed his formal powers was on the wane. In a media game of guilt by association his judgement had also been called into question over the behaviour of his new actress wife, Dagmar, whose own deep unpopularity appeared to be dragging the president down as well.2


Lung Cancer Surgery Communist Society Communist System Czech Society Newspaper Column 
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  1. 4.
    V. Havel, ‘The Power of the Powerless,’ in Open Letters, Selected Writings 1965–1990, selected and edited by Paul Wilson (New York: Vintage, 1992), pp. 125–214.Google Scholar

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© Robin H. E. Shepherd 2000

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  • Robin H. E. Shepherd

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