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(en) Czech, afed - August 21: Somewhat unpleasant look in the rearview mirror [machine translation]
Fri, 25 Aug 2017 21:04:24 +0300
The contribution of Jakub Polák from 1993 to the anniversary of the occupation of the CSSR
by the "fraternal" armies ---- As a reminder of the events associated with August 21,
1968, we bring an article written by Jakub Polák about the 25th anniversary of the
occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact armies. We also want to remember the
author of the following text, which is no longer among us, on our site. ---- "Sure, and
the Museum was also ringing pigeons!" This saying was used in "normalization" times when
you wanted to tell someone that you did not believe he was lying and distorting the
well-known facts. ---- For years, the facade of the National Museum, shot on August 21,
1968 with machine-gun batches, overwhelmed Wenceslas Square as a dumb, yet eloquent remark
that there was something about the eighteenth. Something dangerous enough to call up half
a million soldiers. It can not be ruled out that the repair has been deliberately
postponed so that people have a reminder that threats of "unexpected consequences" may not
Although it was hardly possible to talk about it, it was generally known that "brotherly
help" was pretty bloody. The resistance against the occupiers was not just non-violent.
According to incomplete statistics, about 90 people died on 21 August and in the following
days only 15 people were shot or crushed in front of Prague Radio. For the first
anniversary of August 21, tens of thousands of soldiers and hundreds of tanks and armored
vehicles had to be deployed against large spontaneous demonstrations. And they were dead
What was most frightening of the power-holders at that time was not so much an individual
demonstration as a spontaneous movement across the nation, a pressure from the bottom, an
attempt at fundamental changes in society that had not been torn by occupational armies.
This pressure has increased for a long time as the rising water before the dam. In the
1960s he peaked. At the turn of the '67 and '68, a few people were found at the top of the
power pyramid in Czechoslovakia, who, partly for tactical reasons, partly out of good
intentions, somewhat opened the gates. However, the flood began to spread the hole very
quickly and to destroy the entire dam. Politicians, even more progressive, such as Dubcek
and Co., have been more or less in the lurch of events. The public debate "raised new and
new problems", as they repeatedly reluctantly. People have regained the hope that they can
influence their lives, they are intensely interested in all the events, They began to
communicate with each other and to associate themselves in promoting common interests. The
overall atmosphere in society was significantly different from the current. People did not
end up in their private interests, but felt the need for solidarity with others. Though
not much talk today, despite workplace discussions, labor productivity has generally
increased and crime has fallen significantly. People saw that there was a chance for a
fairer society, and they behaved themselves more honestly. And above all, criminality has
declined significantly. People saw that there was a chance for a fairer society, and they
behaved themselves more honestly. And above all, criminality has declined significantly.
People saw that there was a chance for a fairer society, and they behaved themselves more
Today's critics of the eighteenth are right that it was not a coup in the sense of
returning to capitalism. For Vaclav Havel, he was also socialist. The capitalist world was
going through an intense crisis and hoping to look at our experiment. In the West, the
criticism of the system culminated - storms and revolts shattered with established ideas
and suggested ways to the future. It was just the outrage of US soldiers in Vietnam, and
the American president today[Bill Clinton - Existence]. Capitalism was full of teeth, and
it seemed that his last hour was near.
In such a situation, it has not occurred to anyone to seriously claim that private
ownership of everything will also solve everything. No one has ever dreamed of demanding
the return of property to nobles and churches. Nobody's been so much scared about the big
fanatics and house lords. No one was robbed of the political parties and the ballot with
the voices of the deputies. Real democracy was born on the streets, in public debates that
everyone could attend. Nobody has played too much with the notions of nations and races
more or less chosen - privileges and welfare - perhaps because the example of the terrible
ends to which he is led was barely more than twenty years old.
In poor political leadership, people did not see a disadvantage, but the first signal of
the final death of the state and its replacement by self-government and direct democracy.
Gradually they were forced to leave incapacitated party crucifixes and dishonest civil
servants. The villains started shaking for their posts and the channel. The privileges of
privileges of all kinds of elites have been questioned on the very foundations. There was
an alternative to a centralized bureaucratic system. Dangerous for power elite not only in
the East but also in the West. That is why the West so willingly agreed to the occupation.
General strike as the culmination of resistance
For us, perhaps the most interesting are the first about ten days after 21 August. After
the arrest of the so-called top officials and their removal to Moscow, the state
administration without head was completely paralyzed. What followed was evidence that
anarchy - a state of "without rule" does not mean chaos and disintegration, but on the
contrary, it allows the mobilization of the best qualities and abilities of the people,
and allows the most difficult situations to be managed. Even the greatest bureaucrats,
state officials, when they found out they could not expect directions from above, began to
act as free people. Practically, the whole nation refused to cooperate with the occupiers
(the clergymen could be relieved by not having received the appropriate instructions).
Opponents failed to achieve a major immediate goal - the establishment of the so-called
revolutionary workers' government and the creation of the idea that troops came at the
invitation of legitimate authorities and the will of most Czechoslovaks.
On the contrary, when they suddenly found themselves without their "leaders" and
authorities and ceased to rely on their "proven wisdom", they managed to spontaneously
organize very effective and effective resistance. Even though the occupying troops had
tried to prevent it, improvised illegal radio and television broadcasts began. Similarly,
newspaper publishing continued. People, often with the help of life, ensured the
dissemination of information that helped to unite and consistently resist the occupants.
The authors of the letter of invitation, instead of taking great glory as they imagined,
were cowardly hiding under the protection of the occupying forces.
The culmination of the general strike was a general strike which for several hours
paralyzed the life of the whole country. Even though the organizers did not dare to invite
public rallies, the unified procedure of millions of people for the occupants had to be a
Active resistance did not have to be hopeless
What would be the next development if Moscow did not recognize its mistake with the
removal of "representatives" in time, and after a week did not come back, properly
processed, back? How would the situation develop if the resistance persisted and the
occupying troops tried harder to intervene? A systematic analysis examining events in
terms of the chances of active resistance, as far as I know, no one having access to all
the materials and documents, did not try. Let me add a few notes to this topic.
Our army, though paralyzed by a pre-ordered warrant of resistance and cooperation, refused
to cooperate in these days, forbidding foreign soldiers to enter their premises, and even
being bodies where they declared combat readiness and were ready for active resistance.
They have also found mobilization plans and technical means of Civil Defense, especially
radio stations. Even the People's Militia stood this time on the side of the people. An
elite paratrooper unit - our analogy commandos, which was then located at Holešov airport
- was even preparing for the liberation of captives, but the intelligence service did not
manage to identify exactly where they were detained.
At that time I myself lived in Holešov at the same time. I was 16 years old and I remember
the stormy atmosphere of the Holešov Barracks, the crowds surrounding the Russian tanks
and transporters, the mood of the people who overwhelmed the anger above disappointment
and resignation. He was not directing the soldiers but against the politicians who sent
them here. We have tried, often successfully, to bring the soldiers into discussion and to
convince them of their ineligibility. At least, we have succeeded in significantly
weakening their morale. It has been shown that the behavior of the occupied country is
shocked. According to the instructions of their politruks, they were ready either to fight
with the "counter-revolutionaries" or to the people cheerfully welcoming the fraternal
help. A soldier is trained to think in simple categories of friend or foe, shoot or make a
team. What about people, Who do not shoot after you, but they still ask for your departure
and they tell you that you're the fool who fired? As soon as we find out how many units
had to be dropped prematurely for unreliability, how many Soviet soldiers refused to
execute orders and were shot dead without delay. The number will remain forever
mysterious, but there is no doubt about such cases.
Based on all available information, the following conclusions can be drawn:
* Czechoslovakia's occupation was a perfectly prepared event from a military point of
view. The classic political scenario with the establishment of the puppet government and
the occupation administration did not work. He encountered a phenomenon that the occupiers
did not appreciate in their plans - a spontaneous self-organization capacity.
* The classic power structures were paralyzed by a military intervention, instead they
created light informal new structures, able to flexibly adapt to new conditions and put an
effective resistance. Occupants soon found out that effective government administration
with the help of a handful of collaborators is an illusion.
* From the operation of new organizational and information networks, it could be concluded
that strengthening the pressure will also lead to increased resistance. Reports of
possible repression will spread immediately, evoked passions will lead to violent
escalation of violence.
* Because it failed to gain full control over the armed forces, the police and the militia
- it can be expected that the occupation forces will not only become a defenseless population.
* The first-time units that came into direct contact with the population in the first days
were severely demoralized and their applicability to more vigorous actions was
problematic. The second combat sequence did not count, and possible replacement by other
sufficiently prepared and combatable units is complicated and lengthy.
* The use of an army of ordinary soldiers in basic military service for civilian massacres
is problematic and the troops will cease to be reliable. Due to the large area of
resistance, there were not enough specially trained units. It is well known that in
large-scale demonstrations, standard police methods such as batons, tear gas and water
cannon cease to be effective (estimates of the critical figure are around 20,000). The use
of the army leads to massacres, the impact of which is very problematic. In the case of
Romania, the deployment of the army against demonstrators in 1989 proved to be a mistake
that dictator Ceausescu was standing. Eventually, they were soldiers who stood up against
him, captured and executed. Even the Chinese at Heavenly Peace Square in 1989 used the
army only for a one-off event, done at night, Who mercifully masked the greatest horror of
the eyes of not only the public but also the soldiers. They could also afford this because
the protest movement remained so far only for a small part of society - especially
students and intellectuals.
* From an international perspective, further escalation of military action was also
undesirable. After the first relatively quiet days, the thesis of the ongoing armed
revolution was unsustainable. (In the middle of Europe, there is a situation other than in
the mountains of Afghanistan, where Soviet troops invaded ten years later.)
Dangerous anarchy - how for whom
The occupiers apparently soon realized that by removing "top leaders" they actually
relaxed the spontaneous self-organization of society and created conditions for the growth
of a broad-based resistance movement. The "Representatives" were vigorously processed and
broken and brought back to the top of the power pyramid. Even in time, until it finally
collapsed until the social system finally transformed. People have conceded that it is a
concession of the occupiers and at least a partial victory of the resistance movement. In
fact, it was probably the only way to eliminate it.
The principles of respect for the Authority, respecting the will of the superiors, have
begun to function again for generations. Many, with relief, discarded the burden of
responsibility for their decision-making, and handed their fates into the hands of the
"callers" and did not even ask much about the callers? They have become loyal citizens and
have ceased to be free people.
It must be said that not all, or at least not at once. The memory of an intoxicating and
uplifting feeling when one took his fate into his own hands, despite the sharply loaded
machine guns, remained alive for a long time. Perhaps it can be revived in years, maybe it
can be passed on to future generations. The great demonstrations in 1988 began on August
21st. If the coup in November 1989 did not meet our expectations, it is again because we
too easily let the idea of having to be led by our "chosen" too easily.
The lesson for the next time is obvious. But if everyone does not do it alone, it is
useless. The manuals issued by the Center have never been successful. Unfortunately,
today's regime again has a tendency to bring about categorical judgments over the events
of Orwellian history rewriters. The authors of the first "Lessons from Crisis Evolution"
came up with the thesis of the 68th year as a game of dark political forces fighting for
power. Every fox is judging by his tail. They have been in power for twenty years.
Nowadays, the power-holders as an interpreter of the eighties use essentially a similar
scheme - the welding of the two wings of the state-side.
Let's hope it lasts considerably less.
It depends on us, after all.
Or are we condemned for ages to be manipulated?
The article was published in the journal A-kontra no. 12-15 / 1993 and after ten years in
Existence No. 4/2013 .
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