The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By JaromÍr NavrÁtil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 112: Initial On-Site Report by Kirill Mazurov
to the CPSU CC Politburo, August 21,1968

Source: AVPRF, F. 059, Op. 58, P. 124, D. 574, LI. 184–186.

CPSU Politburo member Kirill Mazurov, the Soviet official designated to oversee the entire military-
political effort in Czechoslovakia, filed this report fourteen hours after Warsaw Pact troops crossed into
Czechoslovakia. Mazurov's report candidly describes the unfurling of the Soviet strategy to quickly
establish a pro-Moscow regime made up of "healthy forces" in the CPCz.

(See also Document No. 99.)

Our friends had gone somewhat haywire, but they really began to lose their nerve when the Soviet units were a bit late in arriving. As a result, time was lost and they failed to prevent the radio and television from operating. Also, an issue of Rudé právo was published with anti-Soviet reports, since Švestka was held under house arrest by the rightists until the editorial office was captured by Soviet troops. And even the commander in Prague himself is still, at 1:00 P.M. local time, unable to use the radio to issue his orders.

The rightists tried to stage disturbances, in some cases with the use of weapons, and they barricaded all approaches to the radio station, television center, and other establishments. The radio had to be seized by force, and as a result much of the equipment was destroyed. The soldiers are not using weapons, but thuggish elements have been throwing explosives and grenades at tanks, trying to provoke our soldiers. Crude, anti-Soviet broadcasts are being transmitted on radio and television from various stations throughout the day.

Dubček, Kriegel, and Smrkovský are being detained in the CPCz CC building, and Černík is in the government building. A search is under way for Pavel.

Our friends have gone to pieces, and are not showing the initiative and firmness of purpose that they should have displayed immediately. We are doing everything possible to shore them up, but they have not yet recovered from the shock. The only thing they have been able to accomplish so far is to broadcast their Appeal to the People twice. They have made no real progress in forming a new government or a new CPCz CC łeadership. Clearly, in the situation that has emerged, it will be impossible to convene a CC plenum or a session of the National Assembly.

The situation demands prompt steps and clear-cut, concrete measures to calm the public and establish order in the city. We are insisting to our friends that they form a new government without further delay, and that they begin appealing to the people and reasserting control over the mass media.

-452-

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