The World Factbook (1990)/Czechoslovakia


World Factbook (1990) Czechoslovakia.jpg

 See regional map V


Total area: 127,870 km²; land area: 125,460 km²

Comparative area: slightly larger than New York State

Land boundaries: 3,446 km total; Austria 548 km, GDR 459 km, Hungary 676 km, Poland 1,309 km, USSR 98 km, FRG 356 km

Coastline: none—landlocked

Maritime claims: none—landlocked

Disputes: Nagymaros Dam dispute with Hungary

Climate: temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters

Terrain: mixture of hills and mountains separated by plains and basins

Natural resources: coal, timber, lignite, uranium, magnesite, iron ore, copper, zinc

Land use: 40% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 13% meadows and pastures; 37% forest and woodland; 9% other; includes 1% irrigated

Environment: infrequent earthquakes; acid rain; water pollution; air pollution

Note: landlocked; strategically located astride some of oldest and most significant land routes in Europe; Moravian Gate is a traditional military corridor between the North European Plain and the Danube in central Europe


Population: 15,683,234 (July 1990), growth rate 0.3% (1990)

Birth rate: 14 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 11 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: NEGL migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 11 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 69 years male, 76 years female (1990) Total fertility rate: 2.0 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Czechoslovak(s); adjective—Czechoslovak

Ethnic divisions: 64.3% Czech, 30.5% Slovak, 3.8% Hungarian, 0.4% German, 0.4% Polish, 0.3% Ukrainian, 0.1% Russian, 0.2% other (Jewish, Gypsy)

Religion: 50% Roman Catholic, 20% Protestant, 2% Orthodox, 28% other

Language: Czech and Slovak (official), Hungarian

Literacy: 99%

Labor force: 8,200,000 (1987); 36.9% industry, 12.3% agriculture, 50.8% construction, communications, and other (1982)

Organized labor: Revolutionary Trade Union Movement (ROH), formerly regime-controlled; other industry-specific strike committees; new independent trade unions forming


Long-form name: Czechoslovak Socialist Republic; abbreviated CSSR; note—on 23 March 1990 the name was changed to Czechoslovak Federative Republic; because of Slovak concerns about their status in the Federation, the Federal Assembly approved the name Czech and Slovak Federative Republic on 20 April 1990

Type: in transition from Communist state to republic

Capital: Prague

Administrative divisions: 2 socialist republics (socialistické republiky, singular—socialistická republika); Ceská Socialistická Republika, Slovenská Socialistická Republika

Independence: 18 October 1918 (from Austro-Hungarian Empire)

Constitution: 11 July 1960; amended in 1968 and 1970; new constitution under review (1 January 1990)

Legal system: civil law system based on Austro-Hungarian codes, modified by Communist legal theory; no judicial review of legislative acts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: National Holiday of the Republic (Anniversary of the Liberation), 9 May (1945)

Executive branch: president, prime minister, Cabinet

Legislative branch: bicameral Federal Assembly (Federální Shromáždění) consists of an upper house or House of Nations (Sněmovna Národu) and a lower house or House of the People (Sněmovna Lidu)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President Vaclav HAVEL (since 28 December 1989);

Head of Government—Premier Marián CALFA (since 10 December 1989); First Deputy Premier Valtr KOMAREK (since 7 December 1989); Jan CARNOGURSKY (since 7 December 1989)

Political parties and leaders: Civic Forum, since December 1989 leading political force, loose coalition of former oppositionists headed by President Vaclav Havel; Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSC), Ladislav Adamec, chairman (since 20 December 1989); KSC toppled from power in November 1989 by massive anti-regime demonstrations, minority role in coalition government since 10 December 1989

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: President—last held 22 May 1985 (next to be held 8 June 1990; will be a free election); results—Gustáv Husak was reelected without opposition;

Federal Assembly—last held 23 and 24 May 1986 (next to be held 8 June 1990; will be a free election); results—KSC was the only party; seats—(350 total) KSC 350

Communists: 1.71 million party members (April 1988) and falling

Other political groups: Czechoslovak Socialist Party, Czechoslovak People's Party, Slovak Freedom Party, Slovak Revival Party, Christian Democratic Party; more than 40 political groups are expected to field candidates for the 8 June 1990 election


Diplomatic representation: Ambassador Rita KLIMOVA; Chancery at 3900 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 363-6315 or 6316; US—Ambassador Shirley Temple BLACK; Embassy at Trziste 15-12548, Prague (mailing address is APO New York 09213); telephone [42](2) 53 6641 through 6649

Flag: two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red with a blue isosceles triangle based on the hoist side


Overview: Czechoslovakia is highly industrialized and has a well-educated and skilled labor force. Its industry, transport, energy sources, banking, and most other means of production are state owned. The country is deficient, however, in energy and many raw materials. Moreover, its aging capital plant lags well behind West European standards. Industry contributes over 50% to GNP and construction 10%. About 95% of agricultural land is in collectives or state farms. The centrally planned economy has been tightly linked in trade (80%) to the USSR and Eastern Europe. Growth has been sluggish, averaging less than 2% in the period 1982-89. GNP per capita ranks next to the GDR as the highest in the Communist countries. As in the rest of Eastern Europe, the sweeping political changes of 1989 have been disrupting normal channels of supply and compounding the government's economic problems. Czechoslovakia is beginning the difficult transition from a command to a market economy.

GNP: $123.2 billion, per capita $7,878; real growth rate 1.0% (1989 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.5% (1989)

Unemployment rate: 0.9% (1987)

Budget: revenues $22.4 billion; expenditures $21.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $3.7 billion (1986 state budget)

Exports: $24.5 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—machinery and equipment 58.5%; industrial consumer goods 15.2%; fuels, minerals, and metals 10.6%; agricultural and forestry products 6.1%, other products 15.2%; partners—USSR, GDR, Poland, Hungary, FRG, Yugoslavia, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, US

Imports: $23.5 billion (f.o.b., 1988); commodities—machinery and equipment 41.6%; fuels, minerals, and metals 32.2%; agricultural and forestry products 11.5%; industrial consumer goods 6.7%; other products 8.0%; partners—USSR, GDR, Poland, Hungary, FRG, Yugoslavia, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania, US

External debt: $7.4 billion, hard currency indebtedness (1989)

Industrial production: growth rate 2.1% (1988)

Electricity: 22,955,000 kW capacity; 85,000 million kWh produced, 5,410 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: iron and steel, machinery and equipment, cement, sheet glass, motor vehicles, armaments, chemicals, ceramics, wood, paper products, footwear

Agriculture: accounts for 15% of GNP (includes forestry); largely self-sufficient in food production; diversified crop and livestock production, including grains, potatoes, sugar beets, hops, fruit, hogs, cattle, and poultry; exporter of forest products

Aid: donor—$4.2 billion in bilateral aid to non-Communist less developed countries (1954-88)

Currency: koruna (plural—koruny); 1 koruna (Kč) = 100 haleřu

Exchange rates: koruny (Kčs) per US$1—17.00 (March 1990), 10.00(1989), 5.63 (1988), 5.43 (1987), 5.95 (1986), 6.79 (1985), 6.65 (1984)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 13,116 km total; 12,868 km 1.435-meter standard gauge, 102 km 1.524-meter broad gauge, 146 km 0.750- and 0.760-meter narrow gauge; 2,854 km double track; 3,530 km electrified; government owned (1986)

Highways: 73,805 km total; including 489 km superhighway (1986)

Inland waterways: 475 km (1986); the Elbe (Labe) is the principal river

Pipelines: crude oil, 1,448 km; refined products, 1,500 km; natural gas, 8,000 km

Ports: maritime outlets are in Poland (Gdynia, Gdansk, Szczecin), Yugoslavia (Rijeka, Koper), FRG (Hamburg), GDR (Rostock); principal river ports are Prague on the Vltava, Děčín on the Elbe (Labe), Komárno on the Danube, Bratislava on the Danube

Merchant marine: 21 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 208,471 GRT/308,072 DWT; includes 15 cargo, 6 bulk

Civil air: 40 major transport aircraft

Airports: 158 total, 158 usable; 40 with permanent-surface runways; 19 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 37 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: stations—58 AM, 16 FM, 45 TV; 14 Soviet TV relays; 4,360,000 TV sets; 4,208,538 radio receivers; at least 1 satellite earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Czechoslovak People's Army, Frontier Guard, Air and Air Defense Forces

Military manpower: males 15-49, 4,019,311; 3,076,735 fit for military service; 137,733 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: 28.4 billion koruny, 7% of total budget (1989); note—conversion of the military budget into US dollars using the official administratively set exchange rate would produce misleading results