published: 09.02.2013, 17:52 | updated: 09.02.2013 18:10:19
Prague - Czehc president-elect Milos Zeman said today he considers Communist (KSCM) lawmaker Miroslav Grebenicek a neo-Stalinist, in reaction to Grebenicek´s statement about the motives of Jan Palach´s self-immolation in 1969 that he made in the Chamber of Deputies on Friday.
Grebenicek, former KSCM chairman, challenged the claim that Palach´s deed was aimed at the communist totalitarian regime.
"The assertion that Jan Palach became a symbol of the struggle against the totalitarian communist power is totally misleading. Jan Palach did not set himself on fire in protest against the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC). He felt affection mainly for the reform communists," Grebenicek said on Friday.
Lawmakers for the centre-right government coalition parties and some of the opposition Public Affairs (VV) deputies walked out in protest.
Palach, a student of medicine, set himself on fire on January 16, 1969 as a gesture to prevent the creeping lethargy in society after the Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia that crushed the Prague Spring communist reform movement a few months before. He succumbed to the burns sustained three days later.
Zeman said in reply to a journalist´s question he believes that when Palach staged his protest, reform Communists were already leaving the scene.
The 1968 Prague Spring Communist-led reform movement was crushed by a Soviet-led invasion in August of the year.
"Their places were being taken by neo-Stalinists similar to Mr Grebenicek, whom I consider a neo-Stalinist," Zeman said in Pardubice.
He attended a conference of the SPOZ Pardubice organisation today.
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