Bratislava, November 27 (TASR) – Pavol Dubcek, son of the 1968 Prague Spring leader and later post-communist Czechoslovak parliamentary chairman Alexander Dubcek, has told TABLET.TV that he has some doubts concerning the death of his father in November 1992.
Dubcek died in hospital two months after a motorway car crash in central Czech Republic, allegedly as a result of sustained injuries.
“We weren’t satisfied [with the official cause of death]. I and my brother appealed to a court. We didn’t like the investigators’ decision. BMW, in cooperation with the Czech Technical University in Prague, wanted to examine the vehicle, but they weren’t allowed to do so,” said Pavol Dubcek.
“It’s possible to drive pretty fast on this stretch, while the car was measured going [only] 110 kilometres per hour. I believe that such a tragedy involving a veering off onto a side road couldn’t have happened. Nonetheless, we as his children didn’t have any tools to enter the investigation directly,” said Pavol Dubcek.
Alexander Dubcek was the leader of the reform communist movement in Czechoslovakia in 1968 known as the Prague Spring, which was eventually suppressed by a Soviet-led military invasion in August of the same year. Dubcek was subsequently dragged to the Soviet Union, with his family having no information of him. He then suddenly appeared at political talks in Moscow, recalls his son Pavol.
After being forced to resign as the country’s leader in the spring of 1969, he was given an ambassadorial post in Turkey, but he wasn’t allowed to take his family along.
“Father told us that they kept the family here as hostages, while he was given the ambassadorial post as an opportunity to emigrate from Czechoslovakia,” said Pavol Dubcek.
Nonetheless, Alexander Dubcek decided to return to Czechoslovakia in 1970 and was subsequently expelled from the Communist Party.
“Father returned to his nation. As he wasn’t welcome here, he came secretly via Hungary with the help of some friends. He returned to Slovakia and accepted punishment,” said Pavol Dubcek, adding that his father then became isolated and their house was under constant surveillance by the communist secret service, the StB.
Alexander Dubcek allegedly had asylum offers from several countries. “Mainly Sweden would have provided him political asylum without any problems … However, father was stubborn. He had his own vision of possible development, and having the trust of more than 80 percent of the nation, he decided not to abandon it,” said Pavol Dubcek.
Even though many people had taken it for granted that Alexander Dubcek would become Czechoslovak president after the fall of communism in 1989, Vaclav Havel eventually became the country’s top official. “Father wasn’t disappointed, however. He was using political posts for helping people. If he had been craving a post, he could have resolved it in a different way with the Moscow leadership than he actually did,” said Pavol Dubcek.
Had the Prague Spring not been crushed, both the Czech Republic and Slovakia could have been further now. “Father had economic advisors … The economy could have been far stronger. This path was a surprise for other powers, too. It was a search for a path for the whole of humankind,” added Pavol Dubcek.