VÁCLAV HAVEL EUROPEAN DIALOGUES 2021 - THE OTHER EUROPE On-line conference 11 - 12 May 2021

Milan Šimečka

Milan Šimečka (1930–1990) was a Czech and Slovak philosopher and literary reviewer. He addressed the history of philosophy, wrote literary reviews and political essays, and social utopia became his lifelong topic. In the period of dissent, he analysed the methods of functioning of totalitarian systems and “great” as well as “small” everyday politics. His works are a remarkable chronicle of the time. He was a member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, but after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 and the rise of the “normalisation of society” under President Husák was expelled from the Party, forced to leave the academic sphere and did manual and auxiliary jobs, publishing his works in samizdat and exile journals. In 1981–1982 he was imprisoned for 13 months for his anti-regime attitudes. During the Velvet Revolution in 1989, he assisted the Public Against Violence, and in 1990 President Václav Havel appointed him chairman of the presidential Council of Advisors, though he died soon after. President Václav Havel awarded him the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk in memoriam in 1991.