Final Word from Monday, February 10, 2003

Several readers said it was humbug of us to suggest in "The Velvet President" that Václav Havel shares the blame for the theft of the 1990s. We should have made it clearer that this wasn't our own opinion. Now that Havel has retired, frank assessments are increasing. Václav Žák wrote in Ekonom that by staying in office so long, Havel legitimized the Wild East policies of the early 1990s. During the days of the biggest dissipation of assets, Žák said, Havel kept quiet. Only later did he speak up, and then he failed to include any self-criticism. His criticism of others caused feelings of injustice among ODS and the Communists, Žák said. Several readers said that no matter what incidental role Havel played in allowing assets to be stolen, Klaus' role was far greater. One reader said that, in more than one sense, there could have been no Klaus if there had been no Havel.


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