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The CPSU Politburo´s Dissemmation of Briefing Materials on the Crisis to CPSU Members, May 27, 1968
Our Source: Navratil, Jaromir.
"The Prague Spring 1968". Hungary: Central European Press, 1998,
Original Source: “TsK KPSS,” Memorandum No. 14194 (Top Secret), May 27, 1968, From V. Stepakov, K. Rusakov, and V. Zagladin, in TsKhSD, F.5, Op.60, D. 19, Ll. 109, 133-136
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: This is the memorandum sent to all party functionaries all over Soviet together with other materials to inform and justify a Soviet response to the situation in Czechoslovakia.
In accordance with the instructions of the CPSU CC Politburo on 16 May 1968 (No. P81/XX), we are presenting draft material for speechmakers, propagandists, and agitators about the present state of affairs. The text of the material has been prepared on the basis of L.I. Brezhnev’s, report "On Urgent Matters Regarding the International Situation and the CPSU's Struggle for Cohesion in the World Communist Movement," which he presented at the April (1968) Plenum of the CPSU CC.
27. V. 68
V. Stepakov, K. Ruzakov, V. Zagladin
On the Current Situation (Some Urgent Points Regarding the USSR's International Position), June 1968
In recent months Czechoslovakia bas become one of the basic targets of political and ideological subversion carried out by imperialists.
In these circumstances the Soviet Union and the other fraternal countries have expressed their alarm at the events in Czechoslovakia. Their concerns have been met with understanding by the CPCz CC and the government of Czechoslovakia. Our internationalist duty is to help our Czechoslovak friends stabilize the situation and rectify the difficulties produced by the intrigues of forces hostile to socialism. Action on this matter, which is important for the entire socialist commonwealth, is being undertaken in close contact with the leadership of the fraternal countries.
At the meeting of the leaders of six European socialist countries in Dresden, a number of extremely important problems regarding their economic and political cooperation were considered, and the delegates from the ČSSR provided information about the situation in their country. A frank exchange of views then transpired. The Czechoslovak comrades stated that the CPCz will never permit events to develop in a way that would result in counterrevolution or that would turn Czechoslovakia away from the socialist path. Friendship with the Soviet Union and with other socialist countries, and the fulfillment of obligations to the Warsaw Pact, remain the cornerstone of its foreign policy.
As the March-April plenum of the CPCz CC showed, Czechoslovak communists are seriously troubled by the stepped-up activity of anti-socialist forces in the country. At the plenum there was an effort by the leadership of the party to gain control over events and to focus the attention of party organizations and all workers on the execution of constructive tasks of socialist construction in the ČSSR. Great attention was devoted to the necessity of further increasing the role of the party in the leadership of the country. Due note was taken of the significance of the activity of all links in the party and state apparatus, including those in the army and the state security organs.
As was reported in our press, on 12-13 May a conference of first secretaries of district, municipal, and oblast committees of the CPCz took place in Prague. It was convened in connection with preparations for a CC plenum, which has been recommended by the end of May. At the conference, Cde. Dubček gave an evaluation of the intra-party situation, having characterized both the positive and the negative sides of the process begun after the December and January plenum of the CPCz CC. The participants in the conference came to the unanimous conclusion that communists in Czechoslovakia under any circumstances will consistently defend, strengthen, and develop the achievements gained by the working class and by the whole nation under the leadership of the party. They expressed certainty that any attempt by anti-socialist forces to endanger the contemporary development of socialist society will receive a decisive rebuff.
The near future will show to what degree the decisions of the March-April plenum of the CPCz CC will be able to put things on an even keel. The CPSU sincerely wishes the Czechoslovak friends success in their endeavors to achieve complete stability in the party and the country.
The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and the Czechoslovak working class possess extensive political experience; the communists of Czechoslovakia, as events have shown, are taking measures to control the situation and to avoid disrupting the ties of fraternal friendship between our parties and countries. However, it is not yet possible to rule out new complications. In all circumstances, no matter what happens, our principled position is clear: It is necessary to do everything possible to thwart the intrigues of the enemies of socialism.
Not long ago separate unsavory incidents occurred in the public life of fraternal Poland. A definite group of maliciously oriented figures from the revisionist school, including ideologically immature and unstable elements who were connected with bourgeois and Zionist circles in the intelligentsia, spoke out against the party's policy, and in essence against its leading role. In their attempts to provoke mass anti-party and anti-state actions, they succeeded for some time in influencing a definite section of Polish students, above all in Warsaw. The roots and political nature of these events were deftly exposed in the speech of Cde. Gomulka, which was published in our press. The leadership of the Polish United Workers' Party was able to mobilize within a short period of time against the attempts being made to subvert the party and was able to stabilize the situation in the country quickly. It is important to note that in the struggle against the attempts to spread anti-party and anti-socialist influence in Poland, the vanguard of the country's workers – the PZPR – acted decisively and militantly. To defend the party's policy, the cause of socialism in Poland, and Poland's friendship with the Soviet Union, party organizations displayed a broad front and kept their word to the working class.