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Czechs have a more positive view of the Velvet Revolution than Slovaks, says new poll

Prague, Oct 29 (CTK) – Two-thirds of Czechs and more than a half of Slovaks assess the 1989 Velvet Revolution, which triggered the collapse of the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, positively, according to a joint poll presented today.

The results provide some contrast to another recent poll that found that only one-third of Czechs over 40 had a positive opinion of the Velvet Revolution.

The poll was conducted by the Czech Public Opinion Research Centre (CVVM) and the Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Sociology in both countries.

Slovak respondents consider the armed anti-Nazi Slovak National Uprising, starting on August 29, 1944, and the establishment of the independent Slovak state in 1993, after Czechoslovakia’s split, more important than the Velvet Revolution, called “gentle” in Slovakia.

Besides, Slovaks assess their EU entry better than Czechs (61 to 45 percent). Both countries joined the Union in May 2004.

The poll results also show a greater liking to the previous regime in Slovakia than in the Czech Republic. One of the pollsters, Robert Klobucky, ascribes this to the modernisation of Slovakia in the second half of the 20th century.

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Slovaks are more optimistic than Czechs as far as future prospects are concerned, including economic development, sociologist Paulina Tabery told a press conference in Prague.

Only 10 percent of Czechs, but 35 percent of Slovaks assess the Communist power seizure in February 1948 positively.

Twelve percent of Czechs and 21 percent of Slovaks suppose that the situation in the country is worse now than before 1989.

Asked whether the regime change after 1989 was worth it, Czechs give more positive answers than Slovaks (73 percent to 59 percent), and 55 percent of Czechs and 33 percent of Slovaks view the Communist regime negatively.

Czechs also assess the economic system in then Czechoslovakia more negatively than Slovaks.

On the contrary, Czechs assess the current regime better than their Slovak neighbours.

The poll was conducted on a sample of 1,000 Czechs and 1,000 Slovaks in September.

“The Czech public is more positively tuned and assesses all aspects we look into a bit more positively than Slovaks. Not only when we asked general questions if the change was worth it or about the situation before and after November 1989, but also in particular spheres of life, Czechs are always optimistic, speaking about improvement to a higher extent than Slovaks,” Tabery told CTK.

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But Slovaks are much more emancipated than Czechs in the view of the possibility to influence political decision-making, she said.

Czech and Slovak sociologists carried out a similar poll five years ago.

Since then the assessments have turned more positive, which also depends on the real situation, for instance, in living standards. However, the approaching 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution has probably influenced the answers as well, Tabery said.

“We registered a similar slight rise in 2009 as well, so it seems that the increased media attention supports a better assessment a bit,” she said.

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