Cooperation among the Visegrad states was launched in 1991 by President Vaclav Havel of then-Czechoslovakia, Poland’s President Lech Walesa and Hungarian Prime Minister Jozsef Antall. Based on their dissident experiences, the leaders of these three newly liberated countries wanted to rid the region of the instruments of Soviet domination, as well as to obtain Western security guarantees against a resurrection of Russia’s power to subjugate them. A “return to Europe and the West” and “rebuilding capitalism” were slogans of the day.

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