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CPCz Central Committee Notes on Problems Stemming from the presence of Warsaw Pact Forces in Czechoslovakia, September 1968
Our Source: Our Source:
Navratil, Jaromir. "The Prague Spring 1968". Hungary: Central
European Press, 1998, pp. 498-501
Original source: Cable No. 620 (SECRET), October 4, 1968, in TsKhSD, F. 5, 0. 60, D. 31 1, LI. 78-86.
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: These notes were obtained by the Soviet embassy in Prague from “reliable sources”; in reality a clumsy attempt to overcome the peaceful resistance they met in Czechoslovakia.
On issues connected with
the presence of Warsaw pact forces on the territory of Czechoslovakia
Prepared on the basis of materials and communications received at the CPCz CC Department for Information, Planning, and Administration, along with some concrete first-hand observations regarding the presence of Warsaw Pact forces on the territory of our republic.
Opinions of Military Servicemen,
Especially Soviet Servicemen
Representatives of the foreign troops bring up the following “arguments” to justify their presence on the territory of the ČSSR:
The troops arrived in our country at the last minute. If they had arrived just two days later, the Germans would have occupied us. This has been confirmed by Soviet counter intelligence.
Czechoslovak radio was able to continue broadcasting even after the liberation because it had linked up with Austrian and West German radio.
Czechoslovakia's western borders were open. Troops from the five countries arrived to defend us, since the Czechoslovak army is worthless and is totally lacking in discipline.
Dubček remains a revisionist, but now he will be forced to obey.
Minister Pavel was hopeless. How was he permitted to occupy such a high post?
In the ČSSR they are continuing to shoot at soldiers from the five countries. However, it would seem that the five have suffered no casualties.
In Czechoslovakia there are over 2 million counterrevolutionaries.
Some servicemen from the 5 countries acknowledge that there was no counterrevolution in our country, but say it could have developed into that.
In the city of Tábor measures were taken to check the water, since the representatives of the troops of the five countries expressed concern that the water had been poisoned.
Representatives of the troops of the five in the region of Chomutov say that enterprises there are stocked with weapons and that during negotiations with these entities, the representatives demand guarantees that these weapons will not be used against Soviet forces. Other demands of this sort have been going on for a whole month regarding the weapons belonging to the People's Militia.
Soviet representatives at the negotiations held in the CPCz raikom in the city of Vyskov, assert that according to official information from our citizens 120 soldiers were killed. This “fact” they adduce as evidence of the existence of counterrevolution.
The majority of soldiers from the five countries are surprised that they are being called occupiers.
The unity of our people is being presented as a matter playing into the hands of the counterrevolution.
The serviceman of the forces of the five in conversations cite unsubstantiated instances and reports providing details and numbers of soldiers who have been shot in Czechoslovakia.
There were cases of insults directed against A. Novotný.
Representatives of the Soviet troops assert that our army and the state security are trailing our citizens so as to prevent them from conversing with the troops from the five countries (in western Bohemian oblast).
Information About Contacts
with Troops from the Five Countries
During recent negotiations in the city of Chomutov, Lt. Colonel Bakushkin declared that he does not trust the first secretary, Comrade Snigon, because the raikom of the CPCz does not make sufficient efforts to carry out the decisions of the higher organs and to arrange friendly contacts.
In the city of Kromęříž negotiations with the city national committee did not lead to a common agreement. Neither side managed to convince the other about the reasons for the situation. Two other meetings with a group of young people have not been finished as yet and will be continued. The course of the meetings has been polite. However, opinions are still far removed.
During an exchange of opinions in the city of Ostrava, the Soviet commander criticized the content of factory newspapers. The first secretary, Cde. Haj, after meeting with General Jashkin, summoned the general factory committees to carry out a review and ensure that the factory newspapers observe their agreements.
Colonel Komarov demanded that they not exclude Soviet films from the downtown cinema.
In the city of Olomouc a meeting took place with the teaching staff of the Palacký University.
The Soviet commanders were interested in the start of the school year and the opinion of the University employees about the presence of the allied forces in Czechoslovakia.
On 16 September in the city of Olomouc a meeting took place with some directors and chairmen of the general factory committees of large enterprises. The opinions of the two sides were at odds. Our people spoke against the holding of discussions at enterprises, while the Soviet representatives, on the contrary, supported the practice.
In the Karviná and Frýdek-Místek provinces the Soviet commanders demanded the removal of statues of T. G. Masaryk. The local leaders declined to do so. The supreme command in the city of Ostrava took this refusal into account. The commander of the city of Vyškov directed a letter of ultimatum to the local leaders: If the statue of T. G. Masaryk is left standing, the troops will reenter the city and take other sanctions.
Citizens of gypsy origin show a definite eagerness to establish contacts with troops in Slovakia. In some farm cooperatives in the province of Rimavská Sobota, parties were arranged in honor of the foreign troops on the day they arrived.
Attempts to establish contact with young people in Slovakia have not proven successful. Soviet soldiers dropped in, for example, to see students at the pharmaceutical faculty who are working in the state farm in Dechtjar, but the students dispersed.
Separate Instances of Contact
On 13 September the head of forestry cooperative declared to the regional department of the public security organs that the forestry workers are refusing to come to work because they are afraid of being shot by Soviet soldiers. Earlier in the day in the forest, where these employees work, several shots were fired from a machine gun.
V. Kučera from Týn nad Vltavou told the provincial department of the public security organs that he and the members of his family are stopped every day by guards of the Soviet army and only after a prolonged detention are allowed to continue on.
On 15 September in Dolní Lhota, in the province of Jindřichův Hradec, sight Soviet soldiers were drinking at the local beer hall. Late in the evening during a debate near the beer hall, a student named Vladimir Motl was wounded in the leg by a shot from a pistol. Apparently, one of the soldiers had been playing with the pistol, but the soldiers fled the scene.
In the village of Dubá na Teplicku some residents invited soldiers into their apartments and provided them with alcoholic drinks. After this the Soviet soldiers, being drunk, engaged in a variety of disturbances (they shot at employees of the state security, for example). No one was wounded.
On 14 September at a hospital in Teplice a Soviet soldier named Anates Sankaevich (b. in 1947) was brought in with a wound in the side of his head. He died within five minutes, according to the doctor. He had been brought there by four soldiers and an interpreter, who asserted that the soldier had been shot while on duty by one of our citizens, who then fled. The commander of the formation in which this soldier served said, upon arriving at the hospital, that it had been an unfortunate accident and that they would handle the matter from then on.
In the Prague-9 district, an agreement was reached on the staging of training flights. Despite this agreement, on 12 September an incident occurred because the commander of the formations protecting the air training grounds had not been informed of the agreement. Fortunately, a tragedy did not occur and after further clarification the training flights took place.
Soviet soldiers are exchanging canned goods for money or wine in some provinces of the southern Moravian region.
In the western Bohemian region in August there occurred 15 traffic accidents caused by Soviet troops; extensive damage was inflicted on the property and health of our citizens.
On 13 and 14 September in the city of Ostrava the editorial board of the newspaper Nová svoboda was operating. The secretary of the CPCz city committee, Cde. Haj, and the editor of the newspaper Nová svoboda, Cde. Kubíček, were temporarily imprisoned.
On 15 September in the region between Františkova myslivna and Jelení chata in the town of Jeseník, a Soviet helicopter had an accident. The investigation into the accident was conducted only by Soviet organs, without cooperation with us.
On 10 September at 2:00 in the afternoon in the provincial village of Nový Dů, (in the mid-Bohemian region) a dead Bulgarian soldier was found. It was confirmed that be had been shot and was brought to this place. The incident is being investigated by our security organs and the commander of the foreign forces.
On 17 September the city committee of the Czechoslovak Youth Union in the city of Trenčín defied the Moscow agreements by organizing a campaign to collect signatures demanding the pull-out of Soviet troops. The text of the petition was laid out on one side of the placard and on the other the residents of the city signed their names. The Soviet patrols told the Soviet commander of the garrison in Trenčín about this matter, and be gave an order to deploy armored personnel carriers in all the streets leading to Peace Square. There occurred an incident and fist fights on both sides. Soviet soldiers used their rifle butts, and in the process, the chairman of the Czechoslovak Youth Union was wounded. The soldiers forced people into the armored personnel carriers and carted them off to the garrison to conduct interrogations. After the interrogations and judicial processing, all those who had been detained were released, thanks to intervention by the CPS raikom. This incident was handled directly by the Soviet garrison commander because he regarded it as a manifestation of counterrevolution and in the future intends to use more serious measures to apply pressure.
The commander of a railroad dispatch center in the city of Bohumín was visited by the city commandant, Lt.-Colonel I. V. Poratimov, who said he had learned about the arrival of new railroad troops in this center. Although Cde. I. V. Poratimov acknowledged he has no sort of directive, he regards the arrival of the fresh troops as a provocation and will give an order to reoccupy the barracks. The commander of the railroad center answered that this happened at the behest of the Ministry of National Defense. However, the It.-colonel did not accept this and said that he only obeys orders from his own commander in Ostrava.
On 17 September in the province of Irkiesy (Libava) in the first half of the day crossfire took place between Soviet soldiers, who reported that formations of the 92nd road-building battalion, which is deployed in this province, opened fire. The soldiers of this formation, along with the instructor Topič and the master Hošek, were arrested. After it was confirmed that they had no weapons, the soldiers were freed, but the instructor Topič and the master Hošek were interned.
In the city of Jesřebí a Soviet soldier was wounded in the shoulder. Negotiations and an investigation were conducted by our army and the Soviet army. The results of the investigation are not yet known.