Czech Republic

The Czech Republic (Czech: Česká republika), also known as Czechia, is a nation state in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east and Poland to the northeast. The Czech Republic covers an area of 78,866 square kilometres (30,450 sq mi) with a mostly temperate continental climate and oceanic climate. It is a unitary parliamentary republic, has 10.5 million inhabitants and the capital and largest city is Prague, with over 1.2 million residents. The Czech Republic includes the historical territories of Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia.

Following the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the whole Crown of Bohemia was gradually integrated into the Habsburg Monarchy alongside the Archduchy of Austria and the Kingdom of Hungary. The Protestant Bohemian Revolt (1618–20) against the Catholic Habsburgs led to the Thirty Years' War. After the Battle of the White Mountain, the Habsburgs consolidated their rule, eradicated Protestantism and reimposed Roman Catholicism, and also adopted a policy of gradual Germanization. With the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the Bohemian Kingdom became part of the Austrian Empire and the Czech language experienced a revival as a consequence of widespread romantic nationalism. In the 19th century, the Czech lands became the industrial powerhouse of the monarchy and were subsequently the core of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, which was formed in 1918 following the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I.

Czechoslovakia remained the only democracy in this part of Europe in the interwar period. However, the Czech part of Czechoslovakia was occupied by Germany in World War II, and was liberated in 1945 by the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States. The Czech country lost the majority of its German-speaking inhabitants after they were expelled following the war. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia won the 1946 elections. Following the 1948 coup d'état, Czechoslovakia became a one-party communist state under Soviet influence. In 1968, increasing dissatisfaction with the regime culminated in a reform movement known as the Prague Spring, which ended in a Soviet-led invasion.

The first separate Czech Republic was created on 1 January 1969, under the name Czech Socialist Republic within federalization of Czechoslovakia, however the federalization was implemented only incompletely. Czechoslovakia remained occupied until the 1989 Velvet Revolution, when the communist regime collapsed and a democracy and federalization was deepened. On 6 March 1990, the Czech Socialist Republic was renamed to the Czech Republic. On 1 January 1993, Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved, with its constituent states becoming the independent states of the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic.

The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 and the European Union (EU) in 2004; it is a member of the United Nations, the OECD, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe. It is a developed country with an advanced, high income economy and high living standards. The UNDP ranks the country 14th in inequality-adjusted human development. The Czech Republic also ranks as the 6th most peaceful country, while achieving strong performance in democratic governance. It has the lowest unemployment rate of EU members.

The population of the Czech Republic is about 10.5 million. Ethic Czechs make up most of the population (95%). Foreign nationals make up about 4% of the country's population. Among the immigrants, the largest diaspora is made up of citizens of Ukraine, who, as of August 31, 2011, counted 110,733 people in the country. Slovak minority amounts to 79,924 people, many of whom, after separation in 1993, remained in the Czech Republic and account for approximately 2% of the population. The third largest ethnic minority group are the Vietnamese (3,889 people). Following them are the citizens of Russia (29,336) and Poland (18,942). Other ethnic groups include Germans (13,577), Roma, Jews and Hungarians.

The Czech Republic has one of the least religious populations in the world. Ever since 1620, the Czech people have been historically characterised as “tolerant and even indifferent towards religion”. The country has one of the most advanced anti-discrimination laws in Europe. Suffice it to say that, unlike the constitutional tradition of most European countries, the Czech Republic recognizes not only traditional, but also so-called new national minorities that have arisen in the country in recent decades, and also reserves the right to use their mother tongue for education and office work. Nevertheless, in 2013 the country was shocked by a wave of anti-Romani actions, accompanied, among other things, by pogroms. This wave was eventually brought down thanks to the decisive actions of the authorities.

There is a sharp decrease in the number of violent crimes against person, a reduction in the activity of right-wing militants and neo-Nazis, which is primarily due to the increased activity of the authorities, frightened by these events. 2014 was a year of parliamentary and municipal elections, and authorities feared most that in the pursuit of votes, the right-wing parties would try to play the “national card” again. Law enforcement agencies did their best to prevent right-wing radical parties to gain traction in the north of the country, where the Roma population is most prevalent. As a result, nationalists had just a few weak demonstrations against the Roma in three Czech cities, as well as a series of more serious anti-Muslim rallies and several speeches against Syrian refugees. This situation, especially at the local level, was used by the leftists, who, using the difficult economic situation in the country, achieved impressive success in municipal elections.

Nevertheless, the situation in the country continues to be tense, since all the reasons that led to the clashes in 2013 remained unchanged. Xenophobic practices of the past years continue to persist.

© 2017 Civic Nation
Created by – NBS-Media