The radical attitudes of some of the Central European state’s leaders and their demands to escalate the war with Russia — Hungary is a notable exception — is not the result of these states’ specific historical experiences. If we want to understand them, we need to understand how a layer of aspirants to membership in the global elite was formed there.

How it really was

In Communist Czechoslovakia, sometime around 1980, my mother-in-law (meaning future mother-in-law, as I was 11) was involved in a car accident with some Soviet soldiers. After the accident, she slapped the Soviet military driver so hard that his nose bled. She didn’t have any problems, however; the Soviets fairly paid all the damages, and the slapped Soviet soldier still came to apologize after a few days. He brought my future wife a doll, the kind you couldn’t buy in Czechoslovakia at the time.

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