The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview
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DOCUMENT No. 69: Report by Soviet Ambassador to Bulgaria
A.M. Puzanov on Bulgaria's Position vis-á-vis Czechoslovakia,
August 1,1968

Source: AVPRF, F. 059, Op. 58, P. 124, D. 573, LI. 95–96; Vondrová & Navrátil, vol. 2,
pp. 150–151.

Soviet Ambassador to Bulgaria A. M. Puzanov recorded Bulgarian Communist Party leader Todor
Zhivkov's hostile views on Czechoslovakia during two conversations on August 1. Justifying his opinions
with anti-Semitic comments, Zhivkov directly advocates the use of force: "we will have to use all possible
and necessary means, including the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact," Puzanov quotes him as stating, if
"the situation in the ČSSR is to be changed."


Zhivkov's first remarks:

It's impossible to trust Dubček, Černík, and Smrkovský. They're not in a position to change the situation in their country, and even if they were, they consciously don't want to change it. We must rely on other forces. In our view, the situation in Czechoslovakia is extremely dangerous. Zionism is making active inroads in other countries as well. It is, one senses, applying enormous pressure on Cde. Kádár. Even here in Bulgaria we're experiencing some manifestations of it…You know, that a secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party CC, Cde. S. Todorov, has a Jewish wife Her political leanings are unsound. S. Todorov is sufficiently mature and experienced as a political leader, but one sometimes notices the influence of his wife in his comments about certain matters.


Zhivkov's remarks later in the day:3

We "on the Bulgarian Politburo" believe it should be emphasized that regardless of the results from the bilateral negotiations at Čierna nad Tisou, the situation in Czechoslovakia and the whole history and course of events there give no reason to assume that the current leadership of the CPCz will be capable of changing the situation. The BCP CC Politburo reaffirms the opinion it expressed earlier: that if the situation in the ČSSR is to be changed and the communist party and socialist gains are to be preserved, we will have to use all possible and necessary means, including the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact if the situation so demands.

DubČek, Černík, and Smrkovský have offered no guarantees that they will turn events around. They are nationalists and revisionists, who have no love for the Soviet Union.

If we do not succeed in turning events around, this will be a catastrophe; it will be a blow against the Soviet Union, against our socialist countries, against the international communist movement, and against the development of our socialist countries.

What is going on? China broke away, and the same with Albania. The situation is only slightly better with Cuba, Romania, and Yugoslavia.

3 Puzanov's memorandum begins with the following: "In the afternoon of 1 August I met Comrade Todor Zhivkov
at his invitation. Comrades Stanko Todorov and Pencho Kubadinski, both members of the BCP Politburo, also were
present. At first Comrade T. Zhivkov stated that the BCP CC Politburo had determined who would be in its delegation
for the meeting in Bratislava on 3 August: T. Zhivkov (head of the delegation), Politburo members S. Todorov (BCP CC
Secretary) and P. Kubadinski (deputy prime minister of Bulgaria), a counselor to the delegation, K. Tellalov (deputy
head of the BCP CC Department on Foreign Policy and International Relations), and an interpreter. Then, Comrade
T. Zhivkov, having emphasized that the Politburo and the BCP CC will always hang together with the CPSU CC
Politburo, declared that he considered it essential to transmit the BCP CC Politburo's views on Czechoslovakia to
Comrade L. I. Brezhnev and the CPSU CC Politburo."

-317-

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