Illustrative photo – On November 16, 2021, Martin Palouš attended a meeting in Prague at which the victims of Jan Palach and Jan Zajíc were remembered on the Czech road to democracy.
Prague – The Senate re-elected former dissident and deputy foreign minister Martin Palouš to the board of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (ÚSTR). He was the only candidate, as his proposer withdrew the re-nomination of historian Petr Blažek. Palouš received 72 out of 76 votes cast in secret elections.
Palouš has been a member of the ÚSTR board since the beginning of April 2018, his first term of office will end in about a month. He was one of the spokesmen of Charter 77, a co-founder and a member of parliament of the polistopada Civic Forum. He also served as deputy foreign minister, ambassador to the UN or director of the Václav Havel Library, which nominated him to the council. Five years ago, he succeeded in competition with four other applicants.
Blažek, who works part-time at ÚSTR and works mainly at the Museum of Memory of the XX. century, which nominated him, he was repeatedly elected by the Senate to the commission for awarding participants of the anti-communist regime. He ran for election to the council last year, but was unsuccessful. At that time, he stated that he would like to contribute to the institute gaining a reputation and a suitable headquarters, and that if elected to the council, he would give up his employment at ÚSTR.
The institute was established in 2008 with the aim of researching communist and Nazi totality. It focuses on the anti-democratic activities of the former security forces of the state as well as on the circumstances of the change from a democratic regime to an authoritarian one. In addition to research, he is also involved in making documents available. The Council of the Institute has seven members who are elected for five years. Four are nominated by civil associations, two members are elected by the Senate on the proposal of the House of Representatives and one on the proposal of the President of the Republic.