President Vaclav Havel said 1990 brought some unpleasant surprises to newly free Czechoslovakia after the November 1989 revolution and that hope of a better future was giving way to "fear of the future."
In a somber New Year's Day speech, Havel said higher prices, the loss of former social certainties such as guaranteed jobs and the growing crime rate have obscured a year of true progress."The hope of a better future is giving way to just the opposite feeling: fear of the future," he said. "We find that what seemed to us a year ago as a neglected house is actually a ruin."
Havel listed among 1990's achievements the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Czechoslovakia - 74 percent of which had left by year's end - the first free elections, renewed respect by the international community, and freedom of religion, assembly and speech.