The Power of Agoral Gatherings
Eva Naništová: Retrospective and Current Approaches to the Velvet Revolution in Slovakia
Retrospective and Current Approaches to the Velvet Revolution in Slovakia Eva Naništová 1. Introduction The year 1989 is an embodiment of a historic turning point that provided new possibilities to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. This year brought monumental events unfolding in the Communist Bloc countries and a domino effect resulting in a great number of revolutions. One of the turning points was the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, which symbolized one of the most important changes in modern world history and was part of considerable changes in Eastern Europe. Huntington (1993, p. 15) wrote that such a “... wave of democratization is a group of transitions from nondemocratic to democratic regimes that occur within a specified period of time and that significantly out- number transitions in the opposite direction during that period of time.” This wave of events started with Solidarity in Gdansk, Poland, and continuing in the other Bloc countries. Metaphorically, we can say that this radical turning point took place in Poland over ten years, in Hungary ten months and in Czechoslo- vakia ten days. These ten eventful days in Czechoslovakia came between No- vember 17 and 27, 1989. On December 4 the border to Austria was opened, ef- fectively ending the Iron Curtain division of the East and the West. November events in Czechoslovakia emerged in the background of public demonstrations, which were surprising for their peaceful and non-violent pro- cess. They were characterized largely by large gatherings of people...
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