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Slovakians talk about life under Communism

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the end of Communism in Czechoslovakia.
Posted at 6:15 PM, Nov 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-03 20:15:10-05

BILLINGS — This month marks the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution and the end of Communism in Czechoslovakia.

The revolution split the country into Czech Republic and Slovak Republic.

Last week, a poll showed that about one third of millennials have a favorable view of communism.

Milan Cicel and Jozef Luptak spoke in Billings last week and are surprised by the poll.

Cicel talked about his life in Slovakia at MSU Billings on Wednesday.

“We’ve been invited to celebrate, commemorate what’s happening 30 years ago, when our road to the or in the freedom started,” Cicel said.

Cicel and Luptak lived under Communism in Czechoslavakia until 1989.

“Once I’ve been identified in my community as one not in favor of communism,” Cicek said. “So the secret police really interrogated me about nine years, so that wasn’t very pleasant.”

The say life is better in a Democratic Parliamentary Republic, but still has challenges.

“We see how slow the process goes and how much new evil things,” Luptak said. “And sometimes it lets into a very tragic moments like killing the journalist two years ago.”

According to CNN, Jan Kuciak, 27, and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová were found dead in February 2018.

A Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation poll shows that 36 percent of millennials in America view communism favorably.

“They are ignorant to the history,” Cicel said. “The history proved the lesson already that communism doesn’t work.”

“For me it’s tragic because I think they didn’t have experience,” Luptak said about the poll results.

“Our society didn’t share what was happening 30 years ago enough with the young people. It was the Iron curtain, we couldn’t travel. It was not freedom of speech. Everything was controlled, censored, so I wouldn’t like to go back to that," ha added.

“Scary, scary,” said Bill Simmons, the local owner of Masterlube. “They need to listen to Milan.”

Simmons has been visiting Slovakia for 20 years and his company has sponsored a series of lectures in Billings.

“There’s this strange lack of memory that seems to surface,” Simmons said. “And now there’s an unease about it. I just think it would be extraordinary if we could all know what has happened and is happening and what they can share with us.”

The Velvet Revolution peaceful transition was from November 17 to 29, 1989.