Democracy Digest: Czechs Ask President, “Why Is Family of Russian ‘Rocket Man’ in Prague?”

Czech-born literary giant Milan Kundera died on July 11, aged 94, at his Paris home. Born in Brno, Kundera played a significant role in the intellectual revival that culminated in the Prague Spring in the late 60s. In 1975, with his work banned amid the "normalisation" imposed on Czechoslovak society by the Communist authorities, the author decamped to France in exile. Four years later, his citizenship was revoked. He received a French passport in 1981. His 1984 novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being, focused on the Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968 which crushed attempts at liberal reform, won him world fame. By the 90s, Kundera had taken to writing in the language of his adopted country, and opposed the translation of his books into Czech. His Czech citizenship was returned four years ago, over which he was reported to have "rejoiced sincerely". Kundera's satirical treatment of totalitarianism saw his work mix "dark irony with philosophical musings", according to one obituary, while the author's explorations in the 1980s of Central Europe's relations with Russian and Western culture have been revived by the Kremlin's war on Ukraine.

Czechs want the government to do more to fight disinformation. A survey released this week showed that 63 per cent of people believe that Prague's efforts to counter fake news and conspiracy theories is insufficient. Just 18 per cent think the government's efforts are good enough. PM Petr Fiala promised during the election campaign in 2021 to battle disinformation. However, Michal Klima, the government's media tsar who was appointed shortly after Fiala took office, was fired earlier this year and the post scrapped. It was claimed Tomas Pojar, appointed to the new post of national security advisor around the same time,...

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