Posts Tagged ‘English’

Is Russia Preparing for Cold War II?

Friday, February 27th, 2009 by Jerry Kott

In 1989, Francis Fukuyama wrote his essay “The End of History?”. In 1992, the year the Soviet Union collapsed, he followed with a book “The End of History and the Last Man”, arguing that the advent of Western liberal democracy may signal the end point of humanity’s sociocultural evolution and the final form of human government. The Cold War was over, the “New World Order” was on, and the future of humanity was bright and peaceful.

It is 2009, and Mr. Fukuyama might as well attempt to write a sequel. At the beginning of 2009, the last twenty years look more like a temporary ceasefire: China has risen as a serious economic (and increasingly, military) player on the world stage. The Russians are more and more openly threatening military response to the planned US anti-missile installations in the Czech Republic and Poland, and now, they are testing the preparedness of NORAD, as is obvious from today’s report about Canadian fighter jets intercepting two Russian military bombers close to Canadian airspace.

Of course, Russia will deny any wrongdoing, like in the old days of Soviet republics. It would be seen as a weakness, and that’s the last thing any good Russian leader (and bureaucrat) wants to show. Instead, Russia will keep posturing, and when caught, it will turn to a proven trick: point its finger at the defender (in this case, Canada): “the statements from Canada’s defence ministry are perplexing to say the least and cannot be called anything other than a farce,” said an unnamed Russian military source.

People from former Czechoslovakia know this trick very well – after all, it was the “counter revolutionary imperialist forces” that threatened to destroy the country, and prompted the Soviet visit in August 1968, lasting almost 22 years. If anyone in the West is willing to give Russia benefit of the doubt, they should look at Russia’s history, its human rights record of recent years, the concentration of power in the hands of few top Russian oligarchs, or Russia’s increased military presence in the Arctic. The conclusion should be that Russia, as always, is testing the West, counting on its preoccupation with internal security and “War on Terror”.

Twenty years on, the tools may have changed, but the goals (and the rhetorics) of the Russian state have changed little: to deny opportunities to Russian people, oppress them with brutal totalitarian policies, and prevent the West from gaining enough political influence that could lead to an actual change in Russia.

With an economic crisis spreading around the globe, nationalist and protections tendencies are sure to be on the rise, and nowhere do they found more fertile ground than in the two largest communist powers: Russia and China (I can hear the objections to the ‘communist’ label, but they both have totalitarian governments any way you slice it). If the two become allied against the West, a Chinese/US trade war, combined with Russian military posturing, may well lead to the resumption of Cold War.

Surely enough material for Mr. Fukuyama to rethink the ‘end of history’. History is alive, and thriving.

Communist Putsch Anniversary

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 by Jerry Kott

Today, many Czechs & Slovaks around the world commemorate the takeover of the government of Czechoslovakia. February 25, 1948 started over forty years of oppressive totalitarian regime in our homeland, resulting in thousands of deaths, broken families, and destroyed fortunes.

On the positive side, many others found refuge and new home in democratic countries around the world, Canada being one of the most generous of them. It is our imperative to remember this dark day in our nation’s history, but also to express our gratitude and happiness at being able to live in such a great and beautiful country that is Canada.

Here are some news about events in Czech Republic commemorating this day in 1948.

Former Czech political prisoners warn youth against communism

Rally warns of 1948 Communist coup in Prague centre

Students’ 1948 bid to save democracy remembered

Czech Social Democrats want to invite Bill Clinton

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 by Nový Domov

Source: ČTK, České Noviny:

Prague – The Czech senior opposition Social Democrats (CSSD) intend to invite former U.S. president Bill Clinton (Democrats) to their congress in March, Petr Dimun, head of the CSSD marketing section, told today’s issue of the daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD).

Bill Clinton’s trip must be approved by the U.S. Department of State headed by his wife Hillary.

Jaroslav Tvrdik (CSSD), who is allegedly in charge of Bill Clinton’s visit, refused to comment on the issue, the daily says.

The CSSD congress to elect a new leadership will continue on March 20-22. Its first part took place on February 14 when the congress changed the party’s statutes to enable indirect elections by the delegates.

MfD writes that Marc Ellenbogen, head of the Prague Society for International Cooperation, helps the CSSD arrange the visit of Bill Clinton, who reportedly plans to go to Europe at the turn of February and March.

Thanks to Ellenbogen’s initiative, retired U.S. general Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe, spoke on the first day of the CSSD congress on February 14.

MfD adds that speeches by famous personalities such as Clark and Clinton cost some tens up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

However, Ellenbogen told the paper that the CSSD did not have to pay for Clark’s performance and that Clinton, too, would lecture at the congress free of charge.

Bill Clinton occupied the post of U.S. president in 1993-2001.

Community scandals: good or not?

Monday, February 23rd, 2009 by Jerry Kott

This story appears on Radio Prague just a few days ago. Author Jan Novák remembers how his early writing upset some members of the Czech community in Chicago.

Czech Republic pushing for global bank reform

Monday, February 23rd, 2009 by Nový Domov

from The Globe and Mail:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her counterparts from Britain, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Luxembourg said they will push the world’s leading nations to adopt standards that would require banks to save more cash for rainy days, demand more transparency from market participants and allow international authorities to clamp down on tax havens.

Prague Restaurant at Masaryktown praised in National Post

Thursday, December 18th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

One of the main attractions of Masaryktown is the Prague Restaurant. In a recent review, the daily newspaper National Post brought a glowing recommendation for the restaurant’s Czech and Slovak cuisine. We hope you’ll pay them a visit, and will agree. Prague Restaurant opening hours and reservation information can be found at

The Czech Republic at Expo 2010

Thursday, December 18th, 2008 by shm

On Tuesday, Dec 16, Czech officials announced the results of a nationwide design tender for the Czech pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China.

The winner of the 185-million CZK (approx. $12 million CAD) project has been chosen the Film Dekor – a firm specializing in interiors, model manufacturing, and set design company will develop the exhibit.


Sonja Bata appeared on CBC’s The Hour

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

In September, we brought you the sad news about the passing of Czech-Canadian industrialist and shoe empire magnate, Thomas Bata. As they say, behind every great man is a great woman. Thomas Bata’s wife Sonja is perhaps best known for her passion for collecting shoes and the founding of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. What is less known is her passion for environmental and social work.

On December 3rd, CBC’s The Hour featured Sonja Bata in an interview with George Stroumboulopoulos. Here is the video.

Copyright ©2008 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Elected Government on Trash Heap of History?

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 by Jerry Kott

That the CBC is a bastion of left-wing, liberal, politically correct journalism is a well-known fact. That the Canadian journalistic elites despise Conservative governments and glow with glee every time the Conservatives get in hot water, is both apparent and understandable. But who exactly does Peter Mansbridge think he is? Karl Marx? (more…)

Current Issue of Nový Domov is out

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 by Alena Kottová

The last issue of Nový Domov is dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the founding of independent Czechoslovakia (October 28th, 1918). In this issue, we tried something new – it has a four-page English Language Supplement for our readers who may not be fluent in Czech or Slovak. If you are a subscriber to the printed Nový Domov, you can access the two most recent issues here.

October Vacations

Sunday, October 19th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

Driftwood on a beach, Vancouver IslandI have always loved taking time off in October. Not only it’s the most beautiful time of year, with golden leaves and clear blue skies – it’s also our wedding anniversary, which means the vacations always turn into a romantic getaway, reminiscing on the years spent together in a happy marriage. The tourist crowds are gone in most places, the tickets are cheaper, it’s not hot anymore… in other words, it’s the perfect time of the year.


Light In Shadows – Czechoslovakia 1968

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 by Nový Domov

An important conference about the Prague Spring of 1968, its roots and consequences is going to take place from October 2 to October 4 at the Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto. General admission is $100, student admission is free with a valid student ID. Anyone who is interested in the Central European history of the second half of the 20th century will find the program enlightening. For program and registration, visit the conference page here.

My Country in Toronto

Saturday, September 20th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

We owe it to our English-speaking readers to report on the wonderful concert of Má Vlast (My Country) performed by Toronto Philharmonia last Thursday. Conductor Kerry Stratton gave his fans a precious gift: the complete performance of the Czech national musical treasure, along with humorous introduction of each of its pieces.

We would like to thank Maestro Stratton and Toronto Philharmonia for a wonderful evening filled with the delicious music of the beloved masterpiece.

After the concert, a reception was held at the residence of the Consul General of the Czech Republic Richard Krpač.

A photo gallery from the event is available here.

Czech Artist Takes Part In Studio Tour

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 by Nový Domov

Czech artist Niki Ticháková takes part in 23rd annual Victoria County Studio Tour. Niki’s art media include encaustic, painted glass, ceramics and kraslice (decorated eggshells). Autumn, with its beautiful colours, is the traditional time of studio tours in Ontario. The Victoria County Studio Tour runs on Saturdays and Sundays, September 28-29, and October 4-5.

More information on

Concert Dedicated To Memory of Thomas Bata

Friday, September 12th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

The Toronto Philharmonia will dedicate its opening concert on Thursday, September 18, 2008 to the memory of Thomas Bata, renowned internationally known businessman who died in Toronto on September 1, 2008. (more…)

Thomas Jan Bata: September 17, 1914 – September 1, 2008

Saturday, September 6th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

In the packed Franciscan Church of St. Bonaventura in Toronto, hundreds of people gathered on Friday, September 5th, to pay their respect and give a final farewell to the Czech-born Canadian industrialist Thomas J. Bata. Among those in presence were of numerous representatives of Canadian and Czech businesses, as well as political, military and community leaders from both countries. The government of the Czech Republic sent a special delegation that included the Czech vice-premier Jiří Čunek and Consul General of the Czech Republic in Toronto, Richard Krpač. (more…)

Toronto’s Czech Community Gossip

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008 by Tina

I have recently heard and read some interesting things about what has been going on in Toronto’s Czech community, particularly Masaryk Memorial Institute. Some of us in the community are capable of turning mice into elephants with an interesting twist on reality.

However, that is not the point of this piece. I don’t want to get caught up in those issues because then I’d be a hypocrite doing exactly what everyone else is doing, which is precisely what I hope to stop with this article. (more…)

Pilsner Urquell draught back in Canada

Thursday, August 21st, 2008 by Jerry Kott

On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, a more joyous occasion happened in the heart of Toronto’s financial district:

Consul General of the Czech Republic in Toronto
After years of absence, the grandfather of all pilsners, Pilsner Urquell, found its way to taps at select Ontario restaurants. SABMiller, the importer, in co-operation with Consul General of the Czech Republic in Toronto Richard Krpač, hosted a grand-opening dinner at Toronto’s Beer Bistro restaurant.

After a brief address by Mr. Krpač, in which he instructed the guests on the proper pronounciation of Czech toast “Na zdraví“, the audience received a special treat: a presentation about the origin of Pilsner Urquell by Ryan N. Johnson, a beer specialist with SABMiller. He complemented his brief lecture with an explanation of proper ways to taste beer and enjoy Pilsner Urquell to its fullest. (more…)

Sad End of the Prague Spring

Thursday, August 14th, 2008 by Jerry Kott

Toronto – Today, the Consul General of the Czech Republic in Toronto Mr. Richard Krpač hosted an informal press conference at his residence, titled 1968, August 21: Sad End of the Prague Spring.

Among the guests were leading Canadian journalists, writers and diplomats connected with events in Czechoslovakia of 1968: former chief political correspondent for CBC Joe Schlesinger, publicist and translator, member of 1970’s underground rock band Plastic People of The Universe Paul Wilson, author and publisher Josef Škvorecký, Czech community leader Josef Čermák, and a former diplomat at the Canadian Embassy in Prague Peter Bakewell. (more…)

Pilsner Was Born In Moscow?

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008 by Jerry Kott

In this age of political correctness, one would think that LCBO ought to know better than offend Czech national sensibilities. According to their recent advertising insert published in liquor stores, magazines and newspapers across Ontario, Pilsner, the Czech national brand, was born in… Moscow of all the places: