Vaclav Klaus former president czech republic

Matt Atlas

Vaclav Klaus: Thirty Years Later

Vaclav Klaus Interview

Vaclav Klaus, former president, and prime minister, talked to about the economy, privatization, and his new book.

Thirty years after the Velvet Revolution, Vaclav Klaus looks back at that time of rapid transformation of the country and economy. 

“The earth has become incredibly rich. But people take it for granted.”


“We had to start privatization with simpler businesses, not something that belongs to the public sector or is a network sector in many countries. For example, the mines were so complicated and defended in this sense… We knew for a long time that we had no meaningful candidate, and that was why we did not hurry. We needed to privatize the economy as a whole. Create a different atmosphere in the country. It was not whether sooner or later railways or airlines were privatized.”

OKD Privatization

we privatized two to three companies in an hour. No wonder there were ‘privatization accidents.’

“I followed privatizations in the Western world, where two or three companies were privatized in the 1980s and 1990s in five years. But we privatized two to three companies in an hour. No wonder there were ‘privatization accidents.’ They are obviously caricatured by the media into something completely different. The OKD case started after me, I wasn’t in politics anymore, and my name stopped being mentioned so much. Fortunately, this is not my case,” said Klaus.

30 years of freedom

In his new book, 30 years of freedom, Klaus is critical of the past thirty years. As he writes, it is not about recalling or even re-interpreting the era of the rapid transformation of our society. Instead, he is interested in how the change has evolved and where the trends and tendencies initiated thirty years ago have led to today. Certainly different from what we wanted, even though the fundamental goal was achieved: today’s world has nothing to do with old communism.

Vaclav Klaus, former president and prime minister

Vaclav Klaus graduated from the University of Economics in Prague. Before joining politics, he worked as a bank clerk and forecaster. From 10 December 1989 to July 1992, he was the Minister of Finance. Vaclav co-founded the Civic Democratic Party and was its chairman between 1991 and 2002. From 1992–1998, he was the Prime Minister of two Czech governments. Mr. Klaus then became chairman of the lower house of parliament for four years as part of an opposition agreement with the CSSD. From 2003–2013, he was President of the Czech Republic for two mandates.