Country of the World Czechoslovakia or Czech Republic

About the country Czechoslovakia or Czech Republic, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: Landlocked in the middle of Europe, Czechoslovakia is divided into three main regions. In the west is Bohemia, the Czech land, a circular plateau protected on three sides by mountains. Moravia occupies the nation's heartland, and mountainous Slovakia lies to the east. The country's natural borders are the Carpathian Mountains and the Sudeten range in the north, the Danube River on the south, and the Bohemian Forest on the west.

Size: 49,373 sq. mi. (127,876 sq. km.), about the size of New York State.

Population: 15 million.

Who Rules: The Cabinet and the Federal Assembly. The assembly consists of the Chamber of Nations (75 Czechs, 75 Slovaks) and the 200-member Chamber of the People. Two state governments, one Czech, the other for Slovakia, are responsible for all noneconomic domestic matters.

Who REALLY Rules: Although the Communist party led by First Secretary Gustav Husak runs the show under the watchful eye of the U.S.S.R., a new, liberal movement, known as Charter 77, has taken root and has won significant human rights concessions since its inception early in 1977. Czech officials at first tried to harass the movement out of business, but in February 1977, seemed to ease up. On June 30, the government granted amnesty to all those who had fled from the 1968 Soviet invasion, enabling emigres at last to return without fear of imprisonment or to normalize their status by formally renouncing Czech citizenship. However, police interrogation of Charter 77 dissidents continues with some arrests and loss of jobs. Nevertheless, by 1978, about 1,000 people had publicly supported the movement.

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