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Federalist questions

(Part 7)


METRO CORNER                                            


Erik Espina

Erik Espina

The providence of Czechoslovakia is another foretaste on federalist questions. Located in Central Europe it is one of sovereign successor states by several treaties post WW I — Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Treaty of Trianon, Treaty of Versailles, France. Originally, part of the vast Austro-Hungarian Empire (constitutional monarchy), Czechoslovakia is a multi-lingual collection of ethnic-nations, e.g., German, Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Ukranian, Romanian, Serbian, etc. Observing a single flag, research described the relationship of Czechs and Slovaks as “asymmetrical.” Initially, Czechs outnumbered Slovaks, the former highly industrialized and cultured, the other, agrarian extension. Both spoke the same language, with slight nuances. The Czechs were considered more developed.

It was during the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic (1948-1990) when tectonic tensions occurred. The peaceful “Velvet Revolution” (Nov. 17-29, 1989) led by students and dissentients terminated 41 years of one-party communist rule. Self-determined break-up of Czech Republic and land-locked Slovak Republic occurred in January, 1993.

“Argument centered on whether dissolution was inevitable or in conjunction or contrast to the Velvet Revolution,” according to historical references. With ethnic differences, imbalance between state successes, command economies and communism successful on the Czechs side than Slovakia. Czechs were influential over the latter. Other divisive propellants were the absence of a unified media in the two republics, conflicts and succeeding actions taken by rival political leaders, and the departure of Soviet satellite countries from a fragmenting USSR. Ironically, opinion polls showed a great majority of Czechs and Slovaks favored the preservation of Czechoslovakia. In the end, the divorce transpired, two states splitting assets, embassies, military camps, hardware, etc.



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