Statement of the Institute for Public Affairs on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of August 21, 1968

On August 21, 2018 fifty years expire from the invasion of Soviet Army and other Warsaw Pact countries’ troops into Czechoslovakia. It was a brutal suppression of the Prague Spring, a process of society’s revival that gained massive support from citizens. People saw in this process the hopes for better, freer and more decent life. Military invasion, however, buried these hopes and the subsequent more than 20 years of the occupation and “normalization” returned Czechoslovakia to captivity of the past, from which at the end it was liberated and brought to freedom and democracy by Velvet Revolution of November 1989. 

In these days we remember victims of military aggression from civilian population of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. We appreciate the bravery of hundreds of thousands of citizens who on August 21, 1968 and in the following days went to the streets and squares of Slovak and Czech cities to resist the prevailing occupation forces in the situation when the Czechoslovak armed forces were ordered not to engage with the aggressor. 

The Institute for Public Affairs expects that Slovakia’s officials will decide on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of August 1968 not only to condemn the hideous case of the attack on the sovereign state and to remember the human victims of the aggression, but also,  using the whole weight and authority of their positions, will claim to our country’s current social order as well as its alliances and partnerships, emphasizing freedom, democracy, solidarity, dignity and respect for human rights. 

We expect the country’s officials will make it clear that our membership in the EU and NATO is of strategic importance since, unlike the former Warsaw Treaty, NATO and the EU nowadays are enhancing and protecting our sovereignty and freedom, not weakening or suppressing them.

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On the occasion of the remembrance of August 1968, Oľga Gyárfášová and Grigorij Mesežnikov contributed their short essays to the publication project of MEP Reinhard Bütikofer #RememberAugust21 along with other authors – historians, sociologists, political scientists, journalists, essayists and politicians. 

Contributions were published on August 21, 2018, on the day of 50th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s and the Warsaw Pact countries' invasion to Czechoslovakia: 


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