published: 28.10.2013, 17:20 | updated: 28.10.2013 17:33:22
Prague - Former Soviet dissident Natalya Gorbanevskaya laid flowers on the grave of former Czechoslovak and Czech president Vaclav Havel in Prague today and remembered her last meeting with him in his capacity as president 20 years ago.
"Havel is strongly popular in Russia, mainly among educated people. It is an unusual model of man who became president, but at the same time a human rights protector who never gave up his moral principles," she told CTK.
Havel, former dissident and playwright, was Czechoslovak and later Czech president in 1989-2003. He died in December 2011 aged 75.
Gorbanevskaya met Havel for the first time in Paris in 1990 and she said it was a joyful meeting.
"I saw him the last time exactly 20 years ago when he invited us to the 75th anniversary of establishment of Czechoslovakia. I was following his activities and I was proud of what he was doing," Gorbanevskaya said.
She was presented with a commemorative medal of Charles University in Prague for her life achievement in the struggle for democracy, freedom and human rights.
She will meet President Milos Zeman on Tuesday.
Gorbanevskaya, now 77, was one of the "Magnificent Eight" dissidents who staged a protest against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, which crashed the Communist-led reform process, on Red Square in Moscow in late August 1968.
The protest in Moscow was terminated after a few minutes by a police intervention.
Unlike the other protesters, Gorbanevskaya was not put on trial as she had a small baby. However, at the end of 1969, the Communist authorities had her interned in a mental hospital from which she was only released after more than two years.
In 1975, she emigrated to France where she has been living until now, but she often visits Russia.
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