Prague Spring


The Hallanshankers Hidden History

Czech this!

(Ceilidh) Band on the Run

Three members of the Hastalka Balalaika Orchestra pictured shortly before their defection to the West in 1968.

The orchestra was very successful, with a thriving business in recordings and memorabilia throughout the then Czechoslovakia.
They fled to Scotland fearing a clampdown on their lucrative business interests.
Sadly, they never achieved the same level of recognition in their adopted Scotland.
Russian Rachel

Raquel Smillinovska pictured shortly before her escape from Czechoslovakia with the other founding members of the Hallanshankers


Pictured with them is Alexei Plugsintownski who followed them over the wall - The Shankers have taken care of him ever since.
Plugsintownski was interviewed for a BBC documentary on the Soviet invasion of Prague in 1983 but the only English he knew was to repeat the phrases, 'I Will Follow' and 'You Rise', over and over.
He lost the use of his right little finger in an unfortunate incident involving milk bottles during a trip to Dublin in October 1980.

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Last modified : 22 Feb, 2009