English editorial

The past lies ahead of us

The website Minulost.cz is one of the projects of the civic association Centre for the documentation of totalitarian regimes (CDTR). It is conceived as a historical popularisation quarterly dedicated to the history of totalitarian regimes of the 20th century and the coming to terms with their past. An electronic periodical directed by an editorial board, it will be bringing articles, essays, commentaries, interviews and polemics. Shorter specialised texts will be presented too, be it in form of short studies, editions of documents or reviews. The website will also utilise audiovisual materials, providing the readers for example with reproductions of works of art, period photographs or video recordings from recent events of CDTR (in this issue, you will find a recording of the discussion about the abolition of the State security at the beginning of 1990 which took place this February in the Libri prohibiti library). While the website will be renewed with a quarterly periodicity, texts on current issues will be published throughout.

In the first issue of the web quarterly you will find an interview with the President of the IPN Łukasz Kamiński done by historian Petr Blažek at the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the largest memory institution in Europe. Peter Rendek describes an as yet completely unknown event from the end of the 1980s. Based on period photographs and archival records he reconstructed the fall of a Soviet army drone on a nursery school in Prague. Swiss-Czech historian Adrian Portmann wrote three interesting texts were written for Minulost.cz. The first deals with questions linked to the end of WWII and the gradual establishment of the new totalitarian regime. The other two articles focus on the activity of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (ÚSTR) and the Security Services Archive which, according to the author, are in a deep crisis, their results do not corresponding to the promises made by the new leadership of these institutions. David Svoboda has contributed a reflection on the new de-Communisation laws in Ukraine. Researcher Radek Schovánek has prepared a small edition of documents on the 40th anniversary of the assassination attempt of Jiří Pelikán, publisher of the exile magazine Listy. Miroslav Vodrážka wrote text with a polemic commentary on the survey about the role of the underground (published in the magazine Paměť a dějiny) in the 1970s and 1980s. On this website you will also find his open letter to the leadership of ÚSTR in which he criticises the approach of Alena Marková, new Head of the department of the history of 1945-1989 at ÚSTR, to scientific research. Archivist and historian Zlatuše Kukánová contributed a study on the liquidation and renewal of the Czechoslovak diplomacy in the years 1939-1945. We are also reproducing the submission of the civic association Post bellum to the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic against negative changes in the archival law, which we have decided to support in this way. You will find these and more articles in the first issue. The complete list of contributions is available in the archive (June 2015).      

We wish all readers a pleasant browsing of this website about our common past which only seemingly lies behind us.

Ivana Koutská, chairwoman of the editorial board Minulost.cz (June 2015)