News & Analysis

Czech Republic restores Milan Kundera’s citizenship

Milan Kundera

Czech-born writer Milan Kundera received back his Czech citizenship forty years after it was revoked by the communist regime.

Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš first proposed to restore Milan Kundera’s nationality in 2018 during the commemoration of the 1918 armistice to end the first world war.

The 90-year-old acclaimed writer received the formal Czech citizenship certificate from the Czech ambassador in France, Petr Drulák.

For his political beliefs and opinions, Kundera was considered persona non grata by the communist party of 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.

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.