Final Word from Tuesday, February 4, 2003

The neon heart at the Castle was turned off on Fri., suggesting that the ideals of the Velvet Revolution it stood for have left with Václav Havel. The Velvet President won praise from all sides before retiring, but some detractors are still muttering about his greatest "achievement." They say it was his success in putting nearly the entire blame for the theft and corruption of the 1990s on Klaus and ODS. Havel and his Civic Forum friends and hangers-on thought they would be calling the shots in the country. It was they who struck the deal with the Communists to end socialism and who oversaw the first (very lucrative) asset transfers. But Klaus interfered before the job was done, and Havel's group has wanted revenge ever since. The process is now ending. Klaus gets the blame and Havel retires a hero. Only Havel's friends won't have their beacon at the Castle anymore.


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