The Booming Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is booming apparently. Both per-capita GDP and fertility are definitely on an upswing, although surprisingly perhaps, for once I am not going to try and suggest that these are connected:

The Czech republic has joined Slovenia among new member states with higher levels of wealth per capita than old member Portugal, according to European Commission statistics.

This raises interesting questions which I just touch on in this AFEM post here. (Incidentally, you can find a one-page set of economic statistics for the Czech Republic from the OECD here).

What is perhaps most interesting about the Prague Post article is the way they explicitly link the increase in preganancy to a recent reform in maternity provision (due to come into effect in April), and to the fact that the ‘postponement phenomenon‘ often leads to a spike in births as women who have postponed reach the new ‘childbearing age’.

“The Labor and Social Affairs Ministry recently launched its own reforms aimed at encouraging couples to have children. The reforms provide generous benefit packages and require companies to hold the jobs of employees on leave for up to four years, and, as of April, women will begin receiving a state subsidy of 17,500 Kč ($725) for each newborn child — more than double the current amount.”
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Shaped Like Prague

Just when you thought the Czech Republic had finally turned into a normal, boring European country…

Prague blogger Doug Arellanes has re-capped the Czech PM apartment scandal story thus far, saving me the trouble. (Frankly Arellanes has told the story better than could have.) As he rightly says, the story “is taking on magical-realist tones.” It’s worth reading, just to give you a taste of what passes for High Politics in the Czech Republic these days — and, for that matter, all other days. As Matt Welch notes, “This story is somehow shaped like Prague.” (And he hasn’t lived here since, what, 1995?)

Read the story first, then click on the clickie for more goodies…
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A Tangled Skein

1944-45. Nazis arm Soviet POWs who are promising to topple Stalin and who then turn around and liberate Prague from the Nazis, only to be turned over to the Soviets after the war ends. Nothing is as simple as it seems.

Vlasov’s forgotten army

Communists buried legacy of Soviet General Andrei Andreyevich Vlasov and his battalion of POWs that helped free Prague from the Nazis

By Stephen Weeks, for The Prague Post

…Between that November [1944] and April of 1945, two divisions of “Vlasov’s Army,” more than 50,000 men, were formed, equipped and trained. Nine officers were Jews, concealed by Vlasov personally. Germany could not afford to equip and provide munitions for more men. This army had its own hospitals, training schools for officers, supply systems and air force. And on April 14, 1945, it was sent not to liberate Russia but to try to halt the Soviet advance across the Oder, only a few hours’ drive from Berlin.

Seeing how hopeless, as well as pointless, the situation was for his force, Vlasov turned his men back and decided to march across Bohemia to get to Pilsen — where he would deliver them as prisoners to the Americans, who were halted there. Stalin had already made it known that if any of Vlasov’s men fell into his hands they would receive long and painful deaths.

Read the whole thing.