2 Former Bulgarian Presidents to Honor Havel's Funeral

Diplomacy | December 22, 2011, Thursday // 16:42|  views

Former Czech president Vaclav Havel (L) and former Bulgarian president Zhelju Zhelev (R) attend a conference entitled 'Solidarity and the Fall of Communism' in Gdansk, Poland, 04 June 2009. EPA/BGNES

Bulgaria's first democratically elected President Zhelyu Zhelev and his successor Petar Stoyanov are going to attend the funeral of renowned Czech playwright, dissident, and ex President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel.

Zhelev and Stoyanov will be at Havel's funeral at the Prague Castle cathedral on Friday, December 23, together with Bulgaria's Foreign Minister Nikolay Mladenov, the Foreign Ministry in Sofia announced Thursday.

Havel was the leader of the peaceful anti-communist "Velvet Revolution." He died Sunday at age 75.

Not unlike playwright Havel's criticism of the communist regime, Bulgaria's Zhelev, a philosopher, has also exposed communism in his books.

Later, after the break-up of the Communist Bloc in Eastern Europe, Zhelev was the President of Bulgaria in 1991-1997, followed by Petar Stoyanov in 1997-2002, and Havel was the President of Czechoslovakia in 1989-1992, and of the Czech Republic in 1993-2003.

During their terms in office Zhelev and Havel formally met twice as Presidents of Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia – Zhelev was in Prague in 1991, and Havel was in Sofia in 1992.

Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov, Zhelev's successor, also visited Prague during Havel's term in 1997.

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Tags: 1968, Prague Spring, Warsaw Pact, Eastern Europe, communist, dissident, Czechoslovakia, Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel, Charter 77, communism, anti-communism, Czech President, Zhelyu Zhelev, Bulgarian President, 1991, 1992, Petar Stoyanov, Foreign Minister, Nikolay Mladenov


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