Czech lawmakers propose honors for the "Eight Brave Ones" from Red Square
The Czech Chamber of Deputies will evidently be proposing that Czech President Miloš Zeman honor the deceased Russian dissident Natalya Gorbanyevskaya and the rest of the "Eight Brave Ones" who demonstrated in Moscow's Red Square against the occupation of Czechoslovakia by troops from the socialist bloc in August 1968. The Organizational Committee of the lower house recommended the lawmakers make the proposal yesterday.
The preliminary list of honorees also includes clergyman Josef Toufar, who was charged in 1950 with staging the so-called "Číhošť miracle", tortured by the communist State Security, and died as a result of his torture. The "Eight Brave Ones" - Konstantin Babickij, Tatyana Baeva, Larisa Bogorazova, Vadim Delone, Vladimir Dremlyuga, Viktor Faynberg, Natalya Gorbanyevskaya, and Pavel Litvinov - would be nominated for the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk.
The lower house is evidently not nominating anyone for the country's highest state honor, the Order of the White Lion. The committee's preliminary list for the Masaryk honor includes a total of 26 names.
Legislators were able to choose from among 17 nominees, such as Jiří Brady, a Holocaust survivor who emigrated to Canada in 1949 and aided other emigrants there; resistance fighter Miluška Havlůjová; a long-time functionary of Junák (Scouting), Jiří Navrátil; or academic and diplomat Otto Picka. Toufar and five other nominees might also be proposed for the Medal for Heroism.
Those other nominees are resistance fighters Jaromír Klika, Jan Skopal and Pavol Švec; a former clergyman in the town of Lidice, Josef Štemberka; and a former professional soldier, Igor Šmelko, who helped saved a woman's life just last year. The Chamber of Deputies' preliminary list of nominees for the Medal of Merit also totals 26 names.
Legislators will evidently be proposing the following nominees for that award: Former chair of the board of Škoda Auto, Carl Horst Hahn; the Icelandic Slavicist Helgi Haraldsson; former hockey player Jiří Holík; Petr Novák, who trained speed skater Martina Sáblíková; cardiologist Jan Pirk; and the renowned sports fisher Jakub Vágner. The final decision will be up to the President, who is not obligated to take the nominations into consideration.
Last year the Chamber of Deputies proposed 39 figures for recognition. Zeman gave honors to three of them on the occasion of the state holiday on 28 October.
Medals of Merit were awarded to guitarist Vladimír Brabec, surgeon Pavel Pafko, and in memoriam to the designer of a memorial to the children of Lidice, Marie Uchytilová-Kučová, who was also nominated by the Czech Senate. The President also wanted to confer an honor on yet another lower house nominee, the rock musician Vladimír Mišík, but Mišík refused to accept the award because he disagrees with some of Zeman's decisions.
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