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30 years ago
Václav Havel president of Czechoslovakia

Initially reluctant to accept the post, Václav Havel became president of Czechoslovakia on December 29, 1989, thus making history as the first president after the end of communism, and as a guide during the country’s difficult transition towards a new form of political organization. Designed to transform not only Czechoslovakia, but also the face of Europe, the Velvet Revolution saw in Havel one of its main protagonists and the embodiment of its leading voice; a voice that spoke for years for the defense of human rights and freedom of expression in a country caught in the grip of real socialism. Over the years, the figure of the literate President, symbol of the protest, not only in the country, but also abroad, gained the proportions of a true legend. The parable of Havel is one common to other great men in the history: the dissidence, the struggle and the long prison time will later lead him to the leadership of the country.