Caputova: August 1968 Reminds Us Democracy Can’t Be Taken for Granted

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President Zuzana Caputova giving her speech at an event commemorating the 52nd anniversary of the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact armies in Bratislava on August 21, 2020 (photo by TASR)

Bratislava, August 21 (TASR) – August 1968 is a reminder that the sovereignty of a state can’t be taken for granted, as it’s a value that needs to be protected by representatives of the state with resolve, President Zuzana Caputova stated on Friday at an event commemorating the 52nd anniversary of the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact armies.


“Because we experienced the events of August 1968 in our country, we know what crime is committed all around the world by those who don’t respect the people as the only source of state power and who put their status of power above the state’s sovereignty,” said Caputova.

According to her, remembering these events not only pays homage to the victims; it also recalls all the messages stemming from August 1968, especially that “the people are the sovereign master and the source of power and that democracy can’t be taken for granted”.

“We know very well why such a thing can’t ever be allowed to reoccur. In the spring of 1968 a large section of society believed that it would be possible in the-then regime to reach in a peaceful manner a status in which the state would respect the public’s basic rights and freedoms. The events of 1968 and what followed proved that this vision was only an illusion,” noted the president.

In her view, the governments of the Eastern Bloc viewed every change for the better in Czechoslovakia as a threat. “They feared that our democratisation would trigger a domino effect, which in turn could cost them their monopoly on power,” remarked Caputova, adding that the theory that socialism can be human and democratic was crushed beneath the tracks of the tanks that were sent into the country.