The legacy of Communism still very much lives on in the hearts and minds of the Czech Republic and still affects the people’s psychologies and the economic and social state of the country. What is evident is that Communism is something that stole a lot from the Czech people and something that they are still trying to adjust to life without – a process that is still very much ongoing.
Anyone who was not alive during the period of Communist rule will not be able to fathom exactly what it was like for the men, women and children who lived during this time. The government maintained a huge amount of control over freedom of speech. Even the case that those refusing to join the Communist party could lose their jobs and have their children blacklisted for future employment. As you can imagine, most people hated the system but were unable to speak out against it, with the overwhelming feeling of the time being that of hopelessness – a nation that wanted to break free from its shackles but simply couldn’t.
One of the biggest legacies of Communism is the attitude of the Czech people to the main things in life. The Communist system destroyed all of their sense of individuality and made the population into one entity – a group of people devoid of their own individual opinions, skills and merits. This made Czech people introverted, which is still seen today, as many Czech people can be characterized as not thinking that they can change the bigger picture and that they are solely the masters of their own destiny.
Despite the political repression and brutal government control, many people still have fond memories of this period – something that is slightly odd to those visiting from foreign lands. Many people, though, remember it as a time where basic amenities were provided for them and when all citizens had a secure place to live and a job that they could rely on. Nowadays, people have to worry about their mortgage, bills, job security and many other factors, which is perceived as a lot more stressful than the previous regime. Essentially, those without lofty aspirations were happy to live in how the Communist regime allowed, whereas those with ambition love the fact that they are free to pursue their dreams in today’s world.
Even during the hardest of times, one thing that never suffered was the Czech sense of humour. This can be seen in the movies released in 1989, many of which were dry and witty affairs with characters who took a relaxed approach to life. It is no coincidence that as soon as the regime fell, these films started to be made. One of the main features of these films was the rebellion against authority, which is obviously a direct impact of all the frustrations built up inside of people over the years of oppressive rule.