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Slovakia under “developed socialism” 1968-1989.

To support the new administration in Prague after the "Prague spring" the Soviet Union cancelled the debts of Czechoslovakia and delivered large economic aid and increased subsidies. This helped Czechoslovakia's economy to stabilize and move to the clear growth in 1970s. This growth was nevertheless not sustainable as it was based on undervalued raw materials and energy deliveries from the Soviet Union. In reality Czechoslovakia stagnated, as large amount of educated and active people either emigrated to West or isolated its from the society.

In 1970s nevertheless dissident movement was reborn in Czechoslovakia. In 1976 the members of a rock band called ‘The Plastic People of the Universe' were arrested in Czechoslovakia and charged with crimes against the state for holding a rock concert. This led to the creation of the ‘Charter 77' movement that monitored human rights abuses within the country and reported them to the broader international community. Its first spokespersons were Vaclav Havel, Jan Patocka, and Jiri Hajek. Many of these individuals endured long jail terms as a result of their activism.

In 1980s Czechoslovakia's economic growth stopped. As the Soviet Union was in growing economic problems, he could not anymore to deliver such of amount subsidies and support as during previous years. This led to the growing shortages and difficulties also in Czechoslovakia. As before the II World War, Czechoslovakia was in its development far ahead of countries as Portugal, Spain or Italy, then by now all these countries passed Czechoslovakia not only by their economic development but also by quality of human development.

This increased the tensions in Czechoslovakia. Charta 77 started to gather more attention and support, cooperating now more actively with opposition movements in Poland and Hungary. Charta 77 started also to organize its first public events, specially on the field of environment protections. Charta 77 members were nevertheless hunted by the security service and regularly jailed.

During this period most massive opposition movement concentrated to Slovakia, where the influence of the catholic church was high and Joan II Paul had similar effect on people as in Poland. On 5 July 1985, some 150-200,000 people gathered at the Cistercian monastery at Velehrad in Moravia, to mark the 1,100th anniversary of the death of St. Methodius, one of the apostles to the Slavs, whom John Paul II had named co-patron of Europe. Initially, the Czechoslovakian authorities hoped to use the event to raise their own popularity, but they had lost control of the masses. Never, since the Prague Spring, had the people dared to shout down their masters; now they did so with nothing less than chants of ‘we want Mass, we want the Pope.' For Czechoslovakia, ‘Velehrad' was the equivalent of the Pope's pilgrimage to Poland in June 1979. As in Poland, the sheer number of participants broke through the fear generated by social atomisation, confirming for those present that ‘we', the society, were larger than ‘them', the state, and that ‘we' could assert ourselves in the confidence that ‘we' are not alone. In many ways, Velehrad was a turning point in Czechoslovakia; the regime's self-confidence waned, while the self-assurance of the resistance community grew. This led quickly to the next campaign, started by a Moravian peasant, Augustin Navratil, with the goal of gathering signatures for a petition demanding religious freedom in Czechoslovakia. This became a kind of public referendum, not simply on the condition of the Church but on basic human rights for all. The petition, which had gathered some 600,000 signatures by late 1989, therefore, became a kind of recall election for the Communist regime and an important benchmark on the road to the collapse of Communism in Czechoslovakia.