On August 25, 1968 eight brave souls held a public protest on Moscow’s Red Square against the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. They all paid dearly for that act of fearlessness and defiance, receiving punishments including jail terms, internal exile and forced psychiatric treatment. The organiser of the demonstration was Pavel Litvinov, whose grandfather Maxim Litvinov had been Stalin’s foreign minister in the 1930s. This week Mr. Litvinov, now resident in the US, was in Prague for events marking the 50th anniversary of the invasion. When
British author Nigel Peace has just published a powerful love story set against the background of the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact. The novel is based on the author’s own personal experience of being torn apart from his first love by the communist regime. I spoke to Nigel Peace shortly before his new book came out, about his memories of the time and what made him write his soul-searching novel half a century later.
The biggest public event marking the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Czechoslovakia was a concert that filled Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Tuesday evening. The culmination of the free show came with Marta Kubišová’s rendition of A Prayer for Marta, a song that came to symbolise the 1968 invasion.
Johnny Krcmar was a journalist working for the ctk news agency at the time of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia. Like millions of others he was woken up in the early hours of August 21st to learn that his country had been invaded by the armies of the Warsaw Pact. He was later forced to emigrate within the secret police operation Asanace. Fifty years after the tragic event Mr. Krcmar visited Radio Prague’s studio to share his memories of that fateful day.
Finns Pentti Avomaa and Markku Pekonen were students when they visited Prague in August 1968, keen to learn about Communist Czechoslovakia’s liberal reforms at first hand. However, soon after their arrival they found themselves caught up in a Warsaw Pact military operation to crush the Prague Spring. Now in their early 70s, the pair have come back to Prague to take part in events marking the invasion’s 50th anniversary.
To mark the anniversary of the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia of 1968, Czech Radio’s Creative Hub Group, in cooperation with Brainz digital agency, has prepared a special virtual reality studio. Visitors to the Czech Radio building can get a first-hand experience of what it feels like to stand in streets that are being invaded by Soviet tanks. I asked Edita Kudláčová, head of the Creative Hub Group, to tell me more about the project.