|One of several government buildings targeted in the raids.|
Corruption in the form of graft and bribery is a thing of the past to most in the United States. When they hear about corrupt officials taking money from organized crime most Americans think back to the early 20th century and the mafia. In the Czech Republic however, such corruption has been held to be just a part of life by most citizens.
While corruption is simply accepted by many Czechs, occasionally it comes to the center of public attention as with Thursday’s raid on government offices by Czech police. At 12:30 AM on Thursday the organized crime unit of the Czech police force raided government offices in Prague, the Czech capital.
Several senior officials of Prime Minister Petr Necas’ center-right governing party were seized in the raid including the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Jana Nagyova. While the police refused to give a reason for the raid it was part of a huge series of raids carried out by around 400 Czech police officers throughout the country on Wednesday and Thursday.
The recently increased crack down on corruption in the Czech Republic is seen by many as a hopeful sign of change in the former communist country. Like many former eastern bloc countries, the Czech Republic has continued to struggle with a legacy of corruption even decades after the fall of communism.
According to some commentators Thursday’s raid could be a potential “death blow” to a government already teetering on the brink of collapse due to repeated corruption scandals.
While there is hope that corruption may finally be facing its demise in the Czech Republic, the process may be slow and painful.