Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes

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Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes
Formation 2007
Type Government agency and research institute
Zdeněk Hazdra
Affiliations Platform of European Memory and Conscience

The Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes (Czech: Ústav pro studium totalitních režimů) is a Czech government agency and research institute, founded by the Czech government in 2007.[1] It is situated at Siwiecova street, Prague (the street is named after Ryszard Siwiec).

Its purpose is to gather, analyse and make accessible documents from the Nazi and Communist totalitarian regimes. The archives will also have documents from the former state secret police, the StB.[1][2] The institute is a founding member organisation of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience, and hosts its secretariat.[3]

Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Prague, Siwiecova street

Kundera controversy[edit]

In 2008 the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes received media attention when a researcher published a controversial claim that the writer Milan Kundera had been a police informant who, in 1950, gave information leading to the arrest of a guest in a student hall of residence. The arrested man, Miroslav Dvořáček, was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment as a spy. He served 14 years of his sentence, which included hard labour in a uranium mine.[4]

The Institute endorsed the authenticity of the 1950 police report on which the account was based, but indicated that it was not possible to establish some key facts. Kundera denied his involvement saying, “I object in the strongest manner to these accusations, which are pure lies”.[5]

Raymond Mawby[edit]

In 2012 the BBC reported that one of its researchers, who visited Prague in connection with a programme about a putative Czech attempt to compromise Edward Heath, came across an extensive secret service file on Conservative MP Raymond Mawby. There was evidence that Mawby sold information to the Czechs in the 1960s, although as Mawby was deceased it was not possible to hear "his side" of the story.[6]


The institute shows exhibitions from other countries and has developed its own touring exhibitions. "Prague Through the Lens of the Secret Police" (which was first shown in 2009 at the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the European Union in Brussels) was reviewed in the Harvard Gazette: Mark Kramer, a fellow and director at the Harvard Project on Cold War Studies commented on the extent to which the communist regime monitored ordinary people. "The Czech secret police went to great lengths to keep track of people who were perfectly innocuous. These weren’t terrorists. They weren’t dangers to the state." [7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Daily News Summary". Czech Radio. Cesky Rozhlas. 8 June 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Konviser, Bruce I. (16 August 2009). "Writing the history books". Global Post. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "Czech Prime minister Petr Nečas: The years of totalitarianism were years of struggle for liberty". Platform of European Memory and Conscience. 14 October 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Penketh, Anne (15 October 2008). "An unbearable betrayal by Kundera?". New Zealand Herald. APN Holdings. p. 1. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Donadio, Rachel (13 October 2008). "Report Says Acclaimed Czech Writer Informed on a Supposed Spy". New York Times. The New York Times Company. p. 2. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Alleyne, Richard (28 June 2012). "Tory minister spied...". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved August 4, 2012. 
  7. ^ Ireland, Corydon (3 December 2009). "Citizen spies, spied-on citizens". Harvard Gazette. Harvard. p. 1. Retrieved 9 July 2010. 
  8. ^ "Novým šéfem ÚSTR zvolen Hazdra" (in Czech). 16 April 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "ÚSTR páchne od Rady. Zvolena Foglová II, Zdeněk Hazdra" (in Czech). 17 April 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2014. 

External links[edit]