The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 36: "On the Current Situation (Some Urgent Points
Regarding the USSR's International Position)," The CPSU Politburo's
Dissemination of Briefing Materials on the Crisis to CPSU Members,
May 27,1968

Source: 'TsK KPSS," Memorandum No. 14194 (Top Secret), May 27, 1968, from V.
Stepakov, K. Rusakov, and V. Zagladin, in TsKhSD, F. 5, Op. 60, D. 19, LI. 109, 133–136.

This memorandum and the attached briefing materials were prepared by Vladimir Stepakov, the deputy
head of the CPSU CC Propaganda Department, Konstantin Rusakov, the head of the CPSU CC Department
for Ties with Communist and Workers' Parties of Socialist Countries, and Vadim Zagladin, the deputy
head of the CPSU CC International Department. The documents were sent to the CPSU Politburo in late
May 1968 pursuant to a May 16 directive instructing them to prepare briefing materials for party
functionaries who were to conduct special meetings all over the Soviet Union to explain what was going
on in Czechoslovakia and justify the Soviet response.

The propaganda package draws heavily on the speech that Brezhnev delivered at the April 1968 plenum
of the CPSU Central Committee, "On Urgent Matters Regarding the International Situation and the
CPSU's Struggle for Cohesion in the World Communist Movement," repeating entire passages verbatim.
The materials illustrate how the CPSU Politburo conducted a top-down flow of information during the
Czechoslovak crisis in order to ensure a uniformity of views throughout the party ranks, and forestall
popular debate over the Soviet leaderships' chosen course of action.


TOP SECRET

In accordance with the instructions of the CPSU CC Politburo on 16 May 1968 (No. P81/XX),
we are presenting draft material for speech-makers, propagandists, and agitators about the present
state of affairs. The text of the material has been prepared on the basis of L. I. Brezhnev's report
"On Urgent Matters Regarding the International Situation and the CPSU's Struggle for Cohesion in
the World Communist Movement," which he presented at the April (1968) Plenum of the CPSU CC.

27. V. 68

V. Stepakov K. Rusakov V. Zagladin

On the Current Situation (Some Urgent Points Regarding the USSR's International Position), June 1968

In recent months Czechoslovakia has become one of the basic targets of political and ideological subversion carried out by imperialists.

In these circumstances the Soviet Union and the other fraternal countries have expressed their alarm at the events in Czechoslovakia. Their concerns have been met with understanding by the CPCz CC and the government of Czechoslovakia. Our internationalist duty is to help our Czechoslovak friends stabilize the situation and rectify the difficulties produced by the intrigues of forces hostile to socialism. Action on this matter, which is important for the entire socialist commonwealth, is being undertaken in close contact with the leadership of the fraternal countries.

At the meeting of the leaders of six European socialist countries in Dresden, a number of extremely important problems regarding their economic and political cooperation were considered, and the delegates from the ČSSR provided information about the situation in their country.58

58 See Documents Nos. 14,15,17, 18.

-150-

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