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Obituary of Luboš Dobrovský
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Obituary of Luboš Dobrovský

 

We Bid a Sad Farewell to Luboš Dobrovský – a Pre-eminent Czech Statesman, Colleague and Friend
 

I appreciate Luboš Dobrovský not only as one of the architects and creators of our current democratic and confident foreign policy, but also as a selfless person with great insight and willingness to listen to others and to share with them the benefits of his experience and observations.

(Tomáš Petříček, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic)

We are sad to have to say this final goodbye to Luboš Dobrovský, a rare, courageous and bold individual who is one of the most significant figures in the history of Czech diplomacy. After the November 1989 change of government, he became the first spokesperson for the new Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Later, as a Deputy Minister, he helped lay the foundations of our new democratic state.

His ability to formulate, articulate and support a new political platform was indispensable in the 1990s. He played a crucial role in the peaceful agreement reached with the Soviets on the quick removal of their occupying troops from the newly freed Czechoslovakia. As a correspondent of Czechoslovak Radio in Moscow in 1968, he was also a witness to the start of the occupation. Symbolically, he was also there as a key player at the end.

Luboš Dobrovský, the former dissident and one of the early signers of Charter 77, played a critical role in the early democratization and evolution of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in terms of both personnel and policy changes. He contributed to the formulation of a number of important policies, and, in particular, policies affecting Central and Eastern Europe. In terms of security and defense policy, he served as the first post-Communist Minister of Defense. As Václav Havel’s Director of the Office of the President of the Czech Republic, he organized and provided a professional structure for the office.

He also served as the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Russia. Always a sensitive observer of his surroundings and, unlike many other experts, he was under no illusion about what he saw happening in Russia at the time and he did his best not to support or further such illusions. Until the end of his mission there, even at the cost of personal disappointments, Luboš Dobrovský provided what has turned out to have been a correct assessment of the weakening and retreat of democracy in Russia and he foresaw the consequences. In retirement, he continued to be a sought after and astute policy analyst, providing his services to a number of different Ministers of Defense. He was also a frequent writer, lecturer and commentator on events in the Czech Republic.

Luboš Dobrovský was always a clear thinker, who could identify problems and issues and come up with strategies and solutions. He would draw clear distinctions between good and bad; he had high moral ideals; and, he was not afraid to stand up for his beliefs.

His life was dramatically affected by first the Holocaust, then the Communist coup and the Soviet occupation. His strength of character remained resolute throughout his life. More than just a consummate professional and passionate debater, he was also a great humanitarian, intelligent and with a wonderful sense of humor. He was always straightforward, honest, sometimes a bit strong-willed and with some strong convictions and yet always friendly and kind.

Luboš Dobrovský leaves in the field of diplomacy a wide circle of friends, associates, students for whom he was and remains a role model. We want to say goodbye and thank you for being here with us. Time spent with him was always rewarding. Some say that diplomats don’t die but rather they are just going for a meeting to talk to St. Peter; and so, we can envy St. Peter.

Let us pay tribute to his memory. We, his friends, his country and his fellow men and women say goodbye and thank you for being here with us. Rest in peace.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

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