The Velvet Revolution and its children

Martin Bútora talks with Dessy Gavrilova at the Vienna Humanities Festival 2017.

In the autumn of 1989, the Velvet Revolution put an end to the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. Its triumphant spread to neighboring countries seemed to pronounce the end of history. But was the promise of 1989 ever fulfilled? And if so, why are so many democracies in Central and Eastern Europe currently failing?

On 23 September 2017, Slovak sociologist Martin Bútora, a leading activist in 1989 and former advisor to Václav Havel, reflected with Dessy Gavrilova (Time to Talk) on the transformations unleashed by the unique revolutions of almost three decades ago. Watch the full debate:


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Cover picture: Young Czechoslovak people wave from a tramway in support of Vaclav Havel for presidency during protest rally 17 December 1989 near Wenceslas Square in Prague.Photo: © Lubomir Kotek / AFP /

Vienna Humanities Festival

The Vienna Humanities Festival, organised by the IWM, Wien Museum and Time to Talk, is a series of around 40 Events (in German and English) which took place from 22 till 24 September 2017 for the second time at the Wien Museum, TU Wien, Evangelische Volksschule and Radiokulturhaus.

The topic of 2017 “Revolution!” ranged from Russia in 1917, the 1968 movement and the Fall in 1989, to the most recent upheavals in the Arab countries and in the Ukraine.

“Democracy is hard work.”

“Lobbying can be a powerful tool for social change.”

“Witnessing war to learn for peace.”

“Proletarians of all countries, who washes your socks?”

“Democracy is hard work.”

“Lobbying can be a powerful tool for social change.”

“Witnessing war to learn for peace.”

“Time to rethink growth”

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