Museum of Communism, Prague

One of the delicious ironies of the fairly scathing Museum of Communism in Prague is that it is located above a McDonalds Restaurant, and on the same floor as a casino. To enter the museum you actually have to walk through a door embossed with the casino logo.

It’s hard to say if folks Vladimir Lenin would have appreciated the irony. I don’t suppose when I visit Russia in August I am going to encounter the same kind of irony, in any case.




Fascinating, and well worth the visit if you happen to be in Prague (it will probably take you around an hour). It’s probably worth noting that the Soviets did at least leave the capital of the Czech Republic with an excellent metro system, as some sort of consolation. I am sure to many (very likely most), that isn’t really any consolation at all.  

7 thoughts on “Museum of Communism, Prague

  1. Exactly. Metro system may be very generously proportioned, however the forced prefabricad housing which makes half of the country ugly allows only very small sized folks and families in. The irony of the prefabricated housing is, that even when it is small, hot in summer and cold in winter, and hardly leaving any sound privacy (the walls transmit sounds 2levels far!), it is expensive, because these were build at normal locations, so we have to pay high prices for low-level housing. Yay communism!

  2. That’s a shame. It is surely likely that such an issue would take generations of government involvement and funding to resolve through residential renewal and organic (private) redevelopment.

    And yet – let me just say that despite all the tumult experienced throughout the 20th century – Prague remains a lovely city! With all the ravages that have past through, things could have been much worse.

  3. I think I can beat that for irony.
    My partner and I caught up a couple of years ago with a woman from Potsdam who’d come to Australia in the early 1990s on student exchange. She drove us all around her town, and we wound up at one point at a beautiful small campus of a university on a grassy hill next to one of the lakes. She told us that this was the newly renovated business and finance college she was attending. It was a fairly old building though, and we asked what it had been before it was a business school.
    “A cadre training school for Communist Party administrators”, she said.

  4. Lucky bugger. Have you seen anything there about the ’68 Prague Spring?

    It’s an article of faith with right-wingers – particularly in the US – that Ronald Reagan’s arms build-up was responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. Maybe it was a contributing factor – it’s certainly plausible – but we on the democratic left should also remember the contribution of the anti-Stalinist left in the ’68 Prague Spring and trade unionists in Solidarity in Poland.

    I also think the further we move away from 1989 and memories of communism, the better life is for us on this side of politics……um, discuss?

  5. Liam, touche!

    GB, you’re probably right there, but of course it’s also true that the Soviet regime had fairly little to do with social democracy. As much as the odd crazy type on the right might like to conflate communism with leftism or a centre-left point of view, it just doesn’t fit the bill. Reagan, when all is said and done, was pretty damned lucky that his aggressive showmanship didn’t spark World War III.

    Amanda, looking forward to it!

  6. That’s about right, Guy. In places like Prague social democrats – people like us – were the first to be put up against the wall when the communists took over. As George Orwell said, the people the communists hated and feared the most were those on the democratic left.

    The point I was making was that we on this side of politics shold be proud of our history of opposing communism – that we sholdn’t let the right write the anti-communist left out of history. And the stuff about Reagan winning the cold war has always had the smell of ex post facto justification about it – the far right and left of American politics always think America should get the credit or blame for everthing that happens in the world.

    I just finished a great book you might like Guy – “The Folly of Empire” by John B Judis. Judis writes for The New Republic – so it’s not some kind of Chomskyite rant – and the book’s basically about how America needs to lead in the world but always remember its anti-colonial, Wilsonian tradition. Anyway, fascinating – fits with what I think ALP foreign policy should be (and is under Smith, I’m happy to say). It’s available on Amazon, of course.

  7. Indeed!

    Sounds like an interesting read. I actually won’t be over here for much longer to receive any new books I order, but I’ll have to look it up further when I get back.

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