Bratislava Pays Tribute to Victims of 1968 Soviet Troops Invasion

(photo by Ladislav Bielik)

Bratislava, August 19 (TASR) – Representatives of the Slovak Republic gathered in front of Bratislava’s Comenius University to pay tribute to the victims of the invasion of Soviet troops into the Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968, TASR learnt on Friday.

Representatives of embassies of neighbouring countries, witnesses of the event and military veterans were also present at Safarikovo Square in order to mark the 48th anniversary of the beginning of the occupation.

“We mustn’t forget these events, because similar ideologies are coming to life even nowadays,” said Slovak MEP Ivan Stefanec.

“It’s striking that these crimes have remained unpunished,” said a 91-year-old member of the Czechoslovak Army Frantisek Martos.

The participants of the commemorative event laid wreaths to the memorial plaque with the names of three victims shot dead at Safarikovo Square in 1968 – Danka Kosanova, Stano Sivak and Jan Holik.

According to Bratislava mayor Ivo Nesrovnal, the invasion of Warsaw Pact troops was a disaster also for the city itself. “More historical monuments were destroyed in Bratislava over the forty years of communism than in both world wars put together,” said Nesrovnal.

On the night of 20–21 August 1968, troops of the five Warsaw Pact nations (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Polish People’s Republic, Hungarian People’s Republic, German Democratic Republic and People’s Republic of Bulgaria) invaded the former Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. The invasion stopped the so-called Prague Spring liberalisation reforms and boosted powers of the authoritarian wing within the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.

As many as 108 Czech and Slovak civilians were killed and around 500 wounded in the invasion.