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Czech PM proposes restoring Milan Kundera’s citizenship

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš proposed to restore Milan Kundera’s Czech nationality, revoked by the Czechoslovakia’s communist authorities in 1979.

For his political beliefs and opinions Kundera was considered persona non grata by the communist party of the former Czechoslovakia, which forced him and his wife Vera to move to France in 1975. The party banned his most famous book The Unbearable Lightness of Being and later stripped him and his wife of their Czech nationality.

“He deserves his nationality back. I do not know the exact procedure but it would not be a problem for his wife as well,” said Mr Babiš during a visit to Paris where he attended the commemoration of the 1918 armistice to end the first world war.

Mr Babiš spent several hours at Kundera’s house where discussion focused mainly on the years which followed Kundera’s move to France.

“It was a great honour for me,” the premier wrote afterwards on his Facebook profile. “Mrs Kundera, the overwhelmingly energetic lady who drives everything, was leading the conversation. I invited both of them to the Czech Republic, where they have not been for 22 years.”

Kundera, who became a French citizen in 1981, has long said that he sees himself as a French writer, and insists his work should be studied as French literature and classified as such in bookstores.