Ales Najbrt [extract]
Soiree in the ruins
The gradual emergence of the Czech Republic into the fast lane of European commerce has brought with it a number of practical problems. Although an infrastructure of commercial service industries is springing up, feeding the growing economy with advertising, marketing, packaging and distribution is no easy task. Many of the strands of corporate culture and peripheral enabling industries which westerners take for granted have to be started from scratch - for instance, the Czech Republic has only recently acquired its own commercial television station. However we may view the merits of such developments in the west, the Czech republic needs all the trappings of its near European neighbours if it is to succeed. And some of this infrastructure must be home grown.
The more cynical Czechs will tell you that despite the changes, it sometimes seems that the only real difference is that photographs of Vaclav Havel have replaced those of the old leaders on office and institution walls. The people behind the desks, they say, are in many cases the same - old communist dogs struggling to learn new tricks . . .
First published in Eye no. 17 vol. 5, 1995