Title in original language: Evidence a svazky Státní bezpečnosti v polistopadové politice
Author: Prokop Tomek
Title in English: Records and files of the State Security Service in post-1989 politics
Journal: Česko-slovenská historická ročenka, 23, 1, 2021, pp. 111-127
Abstract: Prior to the Velvet Revolution of November 1989, the State Security Service (StB) was surrounded by secrecy. This soon produced a vivid sense of threat posed by the potential active influence of the “old apparatchiks” on post-November politics as well as by the vulnerability of former secret collaborators, who had assumed new roles in the new times, to blackmail. For society at large, the problem of secret collaboration has always been a sensitive matter. Reactions to records that are more than thirty years old are still surprisingly strong today. This paper attempts to describe the milestones in dealing with the StB’s legacy, including the first ad hoc screenings (lustration), the non-transparent processing of partial data from records and files, the role of the newly emerging democratic security apparatus, the adoption of the Lustration Law and the developments leading up to the present. The handling of this legacy has been characterized by a great deal of incompetence, improvisation, confusion and uncertainty. The elimination of secret collaborators of the StB from post-1989 politics was intended to put the country on a new footing. Scandalous revelations, public ostracism, media leaks of lists of agents, lustration disputes and the gradual opening of archives became part of political and public life. The recent period is still viewed as sensitive and thus difficult to map, not least because of the relative inaccessibility of archival material.
Keywords: State Security Service, screening, agent, evidence, volumes