A book issued at the end of last year has more than woken up a rather tired and threadbare debate about the death of former Czechoslovak foreign minister Jan Masaryk in 1948. Jan Masaryk, was found dead in his pyjamas in the street outside the foreign ministry. His death was explained as a suicide with the version given out that he had jumped from his flat at the foreign ministry building. But suspicions of murder were hard for the Communist authorities to quash. The communists had just taken over power a few weeks earlier.
Commemorative events are being held around the country to honour the memory of Jan Palach, a Charles University student who set himself ablaze on Wenceslas Square 47 years ago to protest against growing public apathy to the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. His act rekindled the desire for freedom in the nation and was a powerful motivating force behind the 1989 protests that toppled communism.
Vladimír Fišer, the legendary radio announcer who in 1968 announced the news of the Russian-led invasion of Czechoslovakia has died at the age of 81. A popular radio personality Fišer excelled as a talk show host, a presenter of radio plays and a dubber artist, but in the minds of the Czech people he will always be remembered at “the voice of 1968”.
This Friday marks the 47th anniversary of invasion of Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led troops in 1968, which crushed the short-lived Prague Spring reform movement and brought in political and moral decline which lasted until the late 1980’s. On Friday, the event was commemorated at a traditional ceremony in front of the Czech Radio building, which bore witness to one of the most brutal clashes between civilian protesters and the occupying forces.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has stressed the need to move ahead with the transformation of the former Soviet military base in Milovice, which he described as the biggest brownfield in the Czech Republic. During talks with the governor of the Central Bohemia region, Miloš Peterka, the prime minister said the government and the region must reach agreement on the transformation of the former military site. The area is to serve as a big investment zone but many questions remain unresolved, such as whether the former military airfield should be preserved and reconstructed.
Czechs are marking the 47th anniversary of the 1968 invasion of
Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led Warsaw Pact troops. Speaking at a
commemorative ceremony outside the Czech Radio building, Prime Minister
Bohuslav Sobotka said the lessons of the past remain pertinent to the
present day. He drew a parallel between the 1968 invasion and Russia’s
invasion of Crimea and its policy in Eastern Ukraine.
Numerous other events are taking place to mark the anniversary, including a concert on Prague’s Wenceslas Square and an exhibition of photos capturing the events of 1968. Over 100 Czechs and Slovaks were killed in the invasion, when an estimated 500,000 soldiers invaded the country in the early hours of August 21 1968 in order to supress the Prague Spring reform movement.
Russian state television has refused to sell the rights to Czech and Slovak television to screen a controversial documentary about the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, the Czech News Agency has reported. Czech Television launched talks about buying rights to screen the documentary last month with a view to screening it on August 21, the anniversary of the invasion which ended reforms of the Prague Spring. The documentary sparked protests in the Czech Republic and Slovakia for taking the long time Soviet line that the invasion was ‘brotherly help’ aimed at preventing a NATO planned coup in former Czechoslovakia.
A campaign called Proti ztrátě paměti or Fighting Memory Loss, marking the Day of Remembrance for the victims of the communist regime, got underway at Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Thursday afternoon. The campaign, organised by the NGO People in Need since 2011, remembers the victims of the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet troops in 1968. At the same time, it also marks 24 years since the departure of the armed Soviet army from Czechoslovakia. Various events, including film screenings, lectures and theatrical performances are scheduled to take place in Prague over the course of the next five days.
The Russian television lies in a documentary about the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact troops in 1968, President Miloš Zeman said at a press conference at the end of his visit to South Bohemia on Wednesday, adding that the invasion was a crime. The documentary, shown in May by the country’s public broadcaster Rossiya, claims that the 1968 Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia was to protect the country against a planned attack by NATO troops. The Russian ambassador to Prague, Sergej Kiseljov, previously told the Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek that the film did not reflect the official stand of the Kremlin.
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