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CPSU CC Politburo Message to Alexander Dubček, August 13, 1968
Our Source: Navratil, Jaromir.
"The Prague Spring 1968". Hungary: Central European Press, 1998, pp. 343-344
Original Source: ÚSD, AÚD KSČ, F. 02/1; Vondrová & Navrátil, vol. 2, pp. 181-183.
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: This message from the Communistic Party of the Soviet Union was sent to the Soviet ambassador Chervonenko in Prague, who handed it over to Dubček the following day. The telegram’s message was an order to Dubček to immediately reverse the reforms.
On 13 August 1968 Cde. Chervonenko handed Cde. Dubček the following message:
We have several times drawn the attention of the CPCz leadership to a series of grave facts demonstrating that the Czechoslovak side is clearly violating the agreement concluded at Čierna nad Tisou, which required that all the mass media – the press, radio, and television – be placed under the supervision of the CPCz Central Committee and the government, and that all anti-socialist and anti-Soviet publications be suspended.
Over the past few days several press outlets have carried fresh materials that are unambiguously anti-Soviet and anti-socialist. These materials distort the nature of the talks between our parties and the meeting in Bratislava; they are part of an attempt that is being made to impair relations between the USSR and the ČSSR and to arouse the mistrust and animosity of the Czechoslovak people toward the fraternal socialist countries.
These are not merely a few articles but an organized campaign. An especially inflammatory role is being played by Literární listy, Mladá fronta, Reportér, and Práce, which stubbornly continue to publish slanderous fabrications about the Soviet Union and the other fraternal countries. These periodicals are the mouthpiece of the right-wing, anti-socialist forces. Issue number 24 (8 August) of Literární listy carried an article entitled “From Warsaw to Bratislava,” in which – incredible as it may seem – the policy of the fraternal socialist countries is compared to Hitler’s policy and the press of the fraternal socialist countries is equated with the Goebbels propaganda machine. The paper brazenly states that “the professional mentality of the propaganda machine has not changed, insofar as it takes advantage of its monopoly and thereby skews all information, thus creating a deliberate and well-conceived lack of information.”
The paper describes journalists in the other socialist countries as “publicist lackeys” and shamelessly speaks of “the rising cohorts of scribes who are capable of anything and who, on instruction from their ideological chiefs, have opened fire /.../ on 'the Czechoslovak counter- revolution'.”
The article “Friendship and Politics,” featured in the same issue of Literární listy, is permeated by the same polemical, anti-Soviet spirit. Following the example of the bourgeois press, it propagates various slanders and filthy insinuations directed against the objectives and policy of the Soviet Union. The paper states: “Soviet leaders evidently did not trust the ability and desire of the whole people in Czechoslovakia to sustain and advance socialism voluntarily and democratically, and probably believed the only guarantee of the alliance could come from certain individuals.”
Mlada fronta of 10 August carries an insulting assessment of the Bratislava Declaration and, with the most inflammatory of intentions, writes that “Bratislava is not the end but the beginning of discussion, possibly even of polemics…”
In its most recent issue in August, the journal Reportér features an article entitled “The Luxury of Illusions.” This article contains hate-filled diatribes against the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries and vilifies the socialist system. Reportér declares with impertinence “we are threatening the bureaucracy, which slowly but surely was submerging socialism on a global scale. For this we can hardly expect to earn its fraternal solidarity or a spirit of mutual understanding or a full identity of views on questions under discussion. What is at issue is that we are moving toward the liquidation of the absolute power of a bureaucratic caste, which the Stalinist model of socialism has produced on an international scale.”
An orchestrated, vociferous campaign has been unleashed and is spreading in defence of the statements by General Prchlík against the Warsaw Treaty Organization. We realize this is not a question of General Prchlík himself, but of using his name to launch more and more attacks against the Warsaw Pact. In this context we find it impossible to understand the statement in Mlada fronta (if we are to believe the paper) that Prchlík still has the full confidence of the CPCz CC Presidium."
Hence, there is every reason to regard the emerging situation as a violation of the agreements reached at Čiema nad Tisou. This is the result not only of the activities of the right-wing forces, but also of the “non-interference” practiced by the CPCz and the government in these matters, which, in essence, is evolving into the de facto encouragement of anti-socialist elements. We state all this with full responsibility.
As you will surely understand, it would be only natural if we were to react to such statements openly, oppose these provocative affronts, and declare that it was your side that has violated the Čierna nad Tisou accord. However, we do not want to pursue such a course, and we hope that effective measures will be taken against periodicals such as Literární listy, Mladá fronta, Reportér, and Práce, whose activities are inspired by anti-Sovietism.
The unrestrained and hostile attacks in the Czechoslovak publications mentioned above are regarded in Moscow as extremely serious and critical.