Russian Invasion of Czechoslovakia Happened Exactly 40 Years Ago

On August 21, 1968, the Soviet Union and all of its Warsaw Pact allies with the exception of Romania invaded the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, after failed negotiations, in order to prevent Alexander Dubček’s Prague Spring reforms from continuing. In the operation, codenamed “Danube”, the Soviets sent thousands of troops from several Warsaw pact countries; 72 Czechoslovaks were killed by Soviet tanks. The invasion was successful in stopping the partial democratization reforms and strengthening the authority of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. The foreign policy of the Soviet Union during this era would be known as the Brezhnev Doctrine.

Dubček was appointed as leader of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) after the resignation of Antonin Novotny. Dubček’s reforms consisted of his Action Programme which would guarantee additional rights to the citizens. The Soviets attempted to limit the changes made in Czechoslovakia by negotiating with them; this failed and the invasion was implemented. After the Bratislava Declaration, Soviet troops moved out of Prague and other cities, but remained along Czechoslovak borders.

Commentary on politics was disallowed again in mainstream media and political statements by anyone who was not considered to have “full political trust” were also banned. Czechoslovakia than struggled until 1989 under Russia to watch its economical, political and moral decay of severe impact.