The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By Jaromír Navrátil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 88: The Soviet Politburo's Resolution on the Final
Decision to Intervene in Czechoslovakia, August 17,1968,
with Attachments

Source: APRF, Prot. No. 38.

This resolution to invade and the accompanying documents were approved by the Soviet Politburo at
the end of its lengthy three-day meeting on August 15, 16 and 17. The resolution codified the final decision
to adopt "active measures in support of socialism in the ČSSR" and "provide help to the Communist Party
and people of Czechoslovakia through military force."

The wording of the resolution indicates that the Soviet Politburo "unanimously "reached its conclusions
about the situation in Czechoslovakia and "unanimously" decided to intervene with military forcesug-
gesting that a firm consensus was achieved among Politburo members by August 17, without the need for
a formal vote. The decision, as the document reflects, was assisted by the presentation of Soviet Defense
Minister Marshal Andrei Grechko, who, the evidence suggests, presented the findings of his recent
inspection tour of Soviet invasion units and sought the leadership's approval for a specific timetable and
scale of the impending invasion.

The Politburo document also authorizes "travel for comrades to perform on-site work," a phrase that
appears to apply to the mission in Prague undertaken by Kirill Mazurov. Under the code-name of "General
Trofimov," Mazurov was responsible for overseeing the whole military-political undertaking and for
keeping the Politburo closely informed of the operation's progress. Other officers designated by the Soviet
High Command to exercise direct, on-site control of the invasion, including the commander-in-chief of
Soviet Ground Forces, General Ivan Pavlovskii and his deputies, also traveled to Prague in strict secrecy.

The appended documents include a hasty invitation to the leaders of the Warsaw Five to come to Moscow
for a final pre-invasion briefing on August 18; and a message to all members and candidate members of
the Central Committee informing them of the decision to invade. In a procedurally unusual decision, no
Central Committee plenum was held. Kremlin officials did, however, conduct a conclave of top party and
state officials from the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union.

(See Documents Nos. 107, 112.)

Proletarians of all countries, unite!

Communist Party of the Soviet Union, CENTRAL COMMITTEE

TOP SECRET

No. P95/I

To: Cde. Brezhnev

Extract from Protocol No. 95 of the Session of the CPSU CC Politburo on 17 August 1968


In regard to the situation in Czechoslovakia.

1. After comprehensively analyzing the situation and events in Czechoslovakia in recent days, and after reviewing the request from members of the CPCz CC Presidium and the ČSSR government to the USSR, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, and the GDR to offer them military assistance in the struggle against counterrevolutionary forces, the CPSU CC Politburo unani-

-376-

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