Archaeology is a beautiful science, but there is no space for it in troubled times
Jaroslav Bašta was born on 15 May 1948 in Pilsen. He attended primary school in Žatec, where his family moved to. He also attended the local grammar school. After graduating he worked as a trainee supervisor at Electro-Porcelain Louny from 1966 to 1967, after which he was accepted to study at the Faculty of Arts of Charles University in Prague. In the years 1967 to 1970 he studied historical archaeology there. In 1970 he was arrested for his activities in the Revolutionary Youth Movement, and in 1971 he was sentenced to two and a half years of prison. Until 1988 he was employed as a worker - later (1988-1989) as a technician - at the state enterprise Roads and Railroads Construction. He signed Charter 77 already in December 1976, and he was active member of the dissent. In the 1980s he was active in the field of archaeology, he wrote more than 130 academic articles and studies. Soon after the Velvet Revolution he won the job of Director of the Pilsen-North District Museum, but he then took up the job of Department Manager at the Institute for the Protection of the Constitution and Democracy. In the years 1990 to 1991 he served as deputy director of the secret service, and in 1991-1993 he chaired the Independent Committee of the Federal Ministry of the Interior (which assessed the degree to which a person participated in the oppression of the Communist regime - trans.). In late 1994 he joined the Czech Social-Democratic Party. He was elected into the Chamber of Deputies in 1996. He was vice-chairman of the Defence and Security Committee and a member of the Organisational Committee. He also chaired the committee that supervised the Security Intelligence Services. He defended his mandate in the 1998 elections. In 1998-2000 he served as a minister without portfolio in the government of Miloš Zeman. After leaving this post, he continued to serve as a member of the Parliamentary Defence and Security Committee. He gave up his mandate in the Chamber of Deputies in September 2000. In the years 2000 to 2005 he was stationed as Ambassador to the Russian Federation, and in 2005-2006 he served as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was then appointed as Ambassador to Ukraine from 2007 to 2010. He is married, his wife Dana Baštová is an archaeologist. Upon going into retirement he began writing political commentaries and historical novels. Besides his literary activities, he is a speaker at various seminars and political debates.