No. XXXV Grigorij Mesežnikov, Slovakia

August 1968: solidarity and „solidarity“

Invasion of Soviet Army and Warsaw Pact satellites’ troops into Czechoslovakia on 21th August 1968 showed that Soviet-style socialism, implanted by Kremlin in Eastern and Central Europe after the WWII, was incapable to be reformed. Reformist wing in the Czechoslovak Communist Party leadership, supported by vast majority of population, attempted to conduct changes to deliver the “human” to socialist regime, however this attempt, known as Prague Spring, was brutally suppressed, extinguishing all hopes for more free and decent life in conditions of “real” socialism.

Soviet invasion was presented by Kremlin as a solidarity action of “fraternal” socialist states with “healthy forces” in Czechoslovakia, which have allegedly become target of hostile policy of the West and its “domestic minions”. When on August 21, 1968, Soviet troops entered the territory of Czechoslovakia, Kremlin organized in Moscow 9,000 public events in support of this “brotherly” invasion, where 30,000 speakers spoke to almost million citizens. These mass actions, carefully prepared by Soviet apparatus, should serve as a demonstration of solidarity of Soviet people with “working people” of Czechoslovakia in their struggle against “counter-revolution”. However, this was not a solidarity, but regime-ordered demonstration of public support for its aggressive course. The real solidarity that time in Moscow was manifested by other people – those who came to Red Square on August 25, 1968 and displayed the banners “For Freedom – Yours and Ours!” and “Let Free and Independent Czechoslovakia Live!”. Manifestation of brave Muscovite Eight (Natalia Gorbanevskaya, Konstantin Babitskyi, Vadim Delone, Viktor Fainberg, Larisa Bogoraz, Vladimir Dremliuga, Pavel Litvinov and Galina Bayeva) has sent to the world a message that freedom is indivisible.

Grigorij Mesežnikov (1958), Slovak political scientist born in Russia and living in Czecho-Slovakia since 1981.