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Czechoslovakia’s Year 1968: View from Ukraine and Russia

On August 14, 2018, a discussion was held at the Umelka Art Gallery in Bratislava, devoted to the reflection of the Soviet Army’s invasion in August 1968 (and the subsequent occupation of Czechoslovakia) in the occupying power itself (USSR) and in two of its successor states – in Ukraine and in Russia. The discussion was organized by the distribution company Filmtopia in cooperation with the Open Society Foundation as an introduction to the premiere of the documentary film My Unknown Soldier, produced by Ukrainian film director Anna Kryvenko in the Ukrainian-Latvian-Czech-Slovak co-production. 

The discussion was attended by Anna Kryvenko, political scientist Grigorij Mesežnikov and chairwoman of the Ukrainian-Slovak Initiative Ľudmila Verbická. The event was introduced by Eva Križkova (Filmtopia). Discussion was moderated by journalist Oľga Baková. 

Discussants focused on how the occupation of Czechoslovakia at that time was perceived by people in the Soviet Union respectively how Ukrainian and Russian citizens today perceive it (based on the available findings from sociological surveys), what suppression of Prague Spring meant for the USSR, how the Soviet propaganda machinery was working to justify the invasion, and in what forms the disagreement of critical individuals with the Kremlin policy showed itself in the USSR. They also touched upon the current contexts, the basic characteristics of the foreign policy of Russian Federation, the various aspects that have been underway since the Russian-Ukrainian war of 2014, including attitudes of the European and Slovak public (and politicians) to this conflict.

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