mammoth crowd during the revolution 30 years ago

By Fred Iwenjora, Associate Editor

Since 1989, the months of November and December every year are months of national celebration for Slovaks.

It is when Slovaks both at home and in the diaspora get into the mood of euphoria and celebration because it is anniversary of the peaceful revolution which ousted one party dictatorship in Czechoslovakia ultimately resulting in the birth of their own country.

Even their immediate brothers, kit and kin of Czech Republic also celebrate because they share same history.

The year 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the peaceful revolution that brought about an end to communism, their separation from Czech Republic and indeed the birth of elected parliamentary democracy in the country.

Apparently buoyed by the fall of the famous Berlin wall earlier in August of that same year and the many changes and splitting in the former Warsaw pact countries, Czechoslovakia students had protested on 17th of November 1989. They were soon to be joined by workers who downed tools for two hours that by end of December of that year 2019, the nation was agog with chants for change in the system.

The national protest brought to an end 41 years of one party rule in the country and dismantled the communist system.

It also caused the General Secretary of the Communist party Milos Jakes to resign on 24 November while the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announced on 28 November that it would relinquish power and abolish the one party system.

This made the democratic election of author, playwright, activist Vaclav Havel in 1991 possible.

While there are commemorative events in the Slovakian capital city of Bratislava, the Slovakian embassies worldwide are also briefed to make the event memorable.

L-R: The Ambassador of Slovak Republic to Nigeria, H.E. Mr. Peter Holasek, a guest and the Honorary Consul of Slovak Republic to Nigeria and Dana Group Chairman, Mr. Ramesh Hathiramani at a function in Lagos recently

In Nigeria, there is a cocktail party called by the Honorary Consul of the Slovak Republic Mr Ramesh Hathiramani in the presence of the Ambassador of the Slovak Republic His Excellency Mr. Peter Holasek holding in Lagos.

Hathiramani who is also the Chairman Dana Group says “At this Cocktail set on the evening of Thursday November 28, 2019, Slovakia  will host distinguished guests from all areas of vocational interests, members of the diplomatic corps in Nigeria, top captains of industries in Nigeria and a host of others”.

There will be short film presentations, slides and photos and a taste of Slovakia culinary diplomacy.

According to Victor Gotevbe, Editor in chief of Diplomatic Watch, the popular magazine on international diplomacy, partners to the Nigeria Cocktail marking 30 years anniversary of the velvet revolution in Slovakia “this occasion will afford guests opportunity to learn more about Slovakia and its vast potentials.

Diary of the velvet revolution

It started on 17 November and ended 29 December 1989.

On 17 November 1989 riot Police suppressed a student demonstration in Prague

On 20 November, the number of protesters assembled in Prague grew from 200,000 the previous day to an estimated 500,000.

On 24 November, the entire top leadership of the Communist Party, including General Secretary Milos Jakes resigned.

On 27 November, a two-hour general strike involving all citizens of Czechoslovakia was held.

On 28 November, the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announced that it would relinquish power and end the one party state.

On 30 November, two days later, the Federal Parliament formally deleted the sections of the Constitution giving the Communist Party a monopoly of power.

December 1-10, barbed wire and other obstructions were removed from the border with Germany and Austria.

On 10 December, President Gustav Huisak appointed the first largely non communist government in Czechoslovakia since 1948, and resigned.

On 28 December,Alexander Dubcek was elected speaker of the federal parliament

According to Wikipedia, “it was in June 1990 that Czechoslovakia held its first democratic elections since 1946 with Vaclav Havel elected President.

On 13 November 1991, the Federal Assembly passed Constitution Act 541 which settled the division of property between the Czech lands and Slovakia.

On 25 November with Constitution Act 542, passed, they agreed to the dissolution of Czechoslovakia as of 31 December 1992.

On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia became the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Quoting more from Wikipedia, we read that the “separation occurred without violence, and was thus said to be Velvet, much like the “Velvet Revolution” that preceded it, which was accomplished through massive peaceful demonstrations and actions. In contrast, other post-communist break-ups (such as the Soviet Union and yugoslavia involved violent conflict. Czechoslovakia is the only former socialist state to have an entirely peaceful breakup”.


Fred Iwenjora, Associate Editor, Diplomatic Watch