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Balík: Schwarzenberg contributed to democracy like few others


The Czech Republic has only a minimum of public figures who have contributed to Czech freedom and democracy to the extent the late Karel Schwarzenberg did, political scientist Stanislav Balik, from the National Institute SYRI and Masaryk University in Brno, has said.

He said he was not only referring to the period when Schwarzenberg, a noble family descendant who died on Sunday aged 85, held a parliamentary or ministerial post, but also in the preceding times, and he welcomed the fact that Schwarzenberg's funeral will be held with state honours.

It is one of the ways to show gratitude to the deceased for what he did for the state and society, Balik said.

"Karel Schwarzenberg was one of those who used his social position and abilities to help Czechoslovak dissent [during the communist period]. He spoke out in favour of future freedom and democracy in Czechoslovakia as chairman of the International Helsinki Committee for Human Rights from the 1980s, and as a close associate of [the first post-communist] president Vaclav Havel he was closely associated with the months and years following the November events," Balik recalled, alluding to the late 1989 fall of the communist regime in the country.

Funerals with state honours are among several types of state ceremonies that maintain the continuity of society. "It shows that society is more than a random collection of individuals, but that it comes from somewhere and is going somewhere. In the Czech case, the space of the Cathedral of St Vitus, St Wenceslas and St Vojtech, which, after all, does not belong to the Catholic Church according to a court ruling, but is the property of the state, naturally offers itself [as the funeral venue]. Other state symbols, the presence of the highest state representatives, etc., also have their place in such a ceremony," Balik added.



Prof. PhDr. Stanislav Balík Ph.D.

Position: Senior researcher
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