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Czech Republic to declare day in memory of 1968 Soviet-led invasion

Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech Republic has moved to declare August 21st a national day to commemorate the victims from the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact troops’ 1968 invasion and subsequent occupation of Czechoslovakia.

The Czech lower house of Parliament passed a new amendment to the law on public holidays, declaring August 21st a national remembrance day for the victims from the crushing of the Prague Spring by Soviet-led troops more than fifty years ago, in 1968.

The bill was approved by a wide majority of 130 out of 137 lawmakers present.

The Czech Communist Party (KSCM) was the only party that openly opposed the amendment. With the exception of KCSM MP Jiří Dolejš, who voted in favour, declaring that the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia was “a terrible blow to the country”.

Before coming into effect, the bill has yet to be approved by the Senate and be signed into law by the President.

On the night of the 20-21 August 1968, Soviet-led troops from the Warsaw Pact led an invasion of Czechoslovakia to crush the Prague Spring, a vast program of social, political and economic liberalization introduced by Alexander Dubcek.

Nearly 150 people died as a direct result of the invasion, according to the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, who recently released an interactive map shedding some light on the identity, nationality and circumstances of all the deaths.

Last year, Czech President Milos Zeman, known for his pro-Russian agenda, sparked controversy after refusing to deliver a speech commemorating the 50th anniversary of the invasion.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.