Litvinov: Occupation of Czechoslovakia Also Attacked Our Dreams

President Andrej Kiska, right, received Pavel Litvinov (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, November 7 (TASR) – When the Soviet Union sent troops into Czechoslovakia, it seemed to us that they had also been sent against our desires for a better life, Pavel Litvinov, who took part in a demonstration against the occupation of Czechoslovakia on Red Square in Moscow in 1968, said on Wednesday after being received by Slovak President Andrej Kiska, who personally thanked him for this.

“These people knew that they would be persecuted for this moment of courage, they would suffer through the rest of their lives,” Kiska said about Litvinov and his seven companions who, four days after the troops invaded Czechoslovakia, stood up on Red Square with the Czechoslovak flag and posters. “It was a surprise for me that Mr. Litvinov had been convinced three-four months before this event that Czechoslovakia would be occupied, which many people here couldn’t even imagine,” Kiska noted after talking to Litvinov.

Litvinov said that he stood up on the square for two reasons. The first was admiration for socialism with a human face. “These were the reforms we also dreamed of in Russia – freedom of the press, independent courts, freedom to demonstrate, simply the possibility of being a free country. And when they sent troops, it seemed to us that they had also sent them against our desires for a better life,” he noted. The second reason was that it seemed to him that it was unfair that such a large country had invaded a small one.

Litvinov said that he had expected the prison to be worse. He thought he would be sent to a labour camp where his family wouldn’t be able to go and visit him. He was 28 years old at that time. He never received compensation, but he was quietly rehabilitated. At least, he can finally visit Russia.