published: 28.10.2012, 22:07 | updated: 28.10.2012 22:08:46
Prague - President Vaclav Klaus awarded 22 Czech personalities, including javelin thrower Bara Spotakova, exile writer Ota Filip and Sciences Academy head Jiri Drahos, on the national holiday commemorating the 94th anniversary of the foundation of Czechoslovakia tonight.
The highest state decoration, the Order of the White Lion, was bestowed on two World War Two veterans who had fought on the Eastern Front - Alexandr Beer and Vasil Korol.
Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) did not attend the ceremony as he cancelled his programme for today over a calf injury he suffered on Saturday.
Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09) did not attend the ceremony either.
"The decoration is presented by the head of state and it does not matter whether this or that person is sitting somewhere in the back of the hall. I think we politicians should not take ourselves so seriously. We have no influence on the importance of such an event," Schwarzenberg told Lidovky.cz news server.
The Order of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk was lent to six former political prisoners: Leopold Faerber, Jaroslav Fort, Jaromir Jarmara, Josef Plocek, Hubert Prochazka and Drahomira Strouhalova. Most of them resisted both the Nazi and the communist totalitarian systems and they has to spend years behind bars.
The medal of merit was also received by former football goalkeeper Ivo Viktor, chemist Gabriela Basarova, art historian Petr Wittlich and music composer Marek Kopelent.
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