Final Word from Tuesday, August 21, 2018

As it happens, each of the three Czech presidents has been in office on one of the 10-year anniversaries of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact on Aug. 21, 1968. Václav Havel was the president on that day in 1998, Václav Klaus in 2008 and Miloš Zeman in 2018. Zeman, as the incumbent president in a world that is far more divided than it was 10 or 20 years ago, has decided to exercise his right not to incriminate himself by saying something that would get him in trouble either with a large part of the electorate at home or with his friends in Moscow. Václav Klaus was far from quiet 10 years ago. He compared Aug. 1968 to the Nazi occupation in March 1939 and said it was the biggest shock since the end of WWII. Václav Havel's comments from 10 years earlier are harder to track down, but in speaking to Czech Radio he emphasized the resistance to the invaders by society and the media. Havel's words are hauntingly transportable in time to the Trump-Putin era. [ Czech Republic Soviet Union USSR August Germany ]

Glossary of difficult words

incumbent - currently serving in office;

electorate - all the people in a country or area who are entitled to vote in an election;

transportable - able to be carried or moved.


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