Authoritarian regimes emerging in east Europe, says former Czech president

3rd October 2009, Comments 0 comments

Vaclav Havel, a prominent leader in the “Velvet Revolution,” said that the old networks of authoritarian regimes are still around in eastern Europe.

Berlin -- Former Czech president and Cold War hero Vaclav Havel warned on Wednesday of a rise of hardline regimes in Eastern Europe as the continent prepared to mark 20 years since the Berlin Wall fell.

"There is a trend towards a new form of authoritarian governments that are very refined," Havel told the German weekly Die Zeit.

"On the surface, everything is democratic, there is a parliament, there are elections and there are political parties," he said.

"But the old networks are still in power, with the secret services, oligarchs and the police co-operating closely," he added, in German-language comments released ahead of their official publication on Thursday.

Havel also openly slammed Russia, saying: "Three or four critical journalist have died in unexplained circumstances. Then other journalists stay uncritical."

Dissident playwright Havel, now 72, spearheaded the so-called "Velvet Revolution," which overthrew the detested communist regime in Prague and then became Czech president on December 29, 1989.


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