Russia’s Communists push for granting veteran status to participants in invasion of Czechoslovakia

Phot. REUTERS/David W Cerny

The Communist Party of the Russian Federation introduced a controversial bill to the State Duma. The Czech Foreign Ministry has expressed concern over some formulations presented in it.

In particular, the Russian Communists suggest that the veteran status should be granted to former soldiers of the Soviet army who participated in the occupation of Czechoslovakia for the ‘fulfillment of tasks to suppress the coup attempt and ensure stability in Czechoslovakia during the period of conducting a major military and strategic operation by the Warsaw Pact troops in August – November, 1968’.

In its statement, the Foreign Ministry referred to the Treaty on Friendly Relations and Cooperation between Russia and the Czech Republic, which was signed in August, 1993. According to them, the parties’ intention to ‘put an end to the totalitarian past associated with the intolerable use of force against Czechoslovakia in 1968’ was clearly stated in the document.

On August 21, 1968 the Soviet-led forces attacked Czechoslovakia, which put an end to the Prague Spring pro-democracy reforms and resulted in re-establishing the Communist regime by force. 137 civilians were killed and 500 seriously wounded during the occupation.

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