PRAGUE (AFP).- Czech writer and journalist Ludvik Vaculik, a fierce critic of the totalitarian communist regime that ruled in former Czechoslovakia from 1948-1989, died on Saturday aged 88, Czech media reported.
Vaculik gained fame for his novel "The Axe" (1966) about a man whose sympathies for the communist regime in former Czechoslovakia after World War II turn into disillusionment for him and his family.
In 1968, during the widespread democratic reform movement known as the Prague Spring, Vaculik wrote the "Two Thousand Words" manifesto urging broader reforms, which was signed by hundreds of thousands of people.
This pro-democratic drive was crushed by the August 21, 1968 invasion by Soviet and Warsaw Pact troops from Bulgaria, East Germany, Hungary and Poland.
Vaculik, himself a Communist Party member from 1948-1968, fell out of favour with the communists following his fiery 1967 speech at a Czech writers' congress.
In 1972, he established a clandestine publishing house and in 1977 he went on to sign the "Charter 77" manifesto criticising the Czechoslovak government.
Vaculik's other works include "Guinea Pigs" (1970), "The Czech Dream Book" (1981) and "How To Make A Boy" (1993).
The Communists took over in Czechoslovakia in 1948 and were toppled by the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Four years later, Czechoslovakia split peacefully into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
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