The Prague Spring 1968: A National Security Archive Documents Reader

By Jaromír Navrátil | Go to book overview

DOCUMENT No. 113: Moscow CPSU Committee's Assessment of Local
Citizens' Initial Reactions to the Invasion, August 21–22,1968 (Excerpts)

Source: TsKhSD, F. 5, Op. 60, D. 1.L1. 105–110 and 111–116.

These two reports are the first of many compiled under the auspices of Viktor Grishin, who served as
both the Moscow party secretary and a candidate member of the CPSU Politburo. They were prompted
by directives from the CPSU Politburo to lower-level party organizations throughout the Soviet Union to
"conduct mass political-education campaigns" to ensure that ordinary citizens in the USSR would
"understand the true essence of recent events in Czechoslovakia," and report back on the results.

Grishin's reports confirm that the reaction of Soviet citizens to the invasion was less supportive than
the authorities publicly claimed. He notes a substantial number of "unsavory and at times even hostile
views" from Soviets as well as from Czechoslovaks who happened to be in Moscow on the 21st. Grishin
maintained that "opposition to the sending of troops onto ČSSR territory" was confined "primarily to
members of the intelligentsia," but a close analysis of his reports (as well as other newly available evidence)
suggests that this sentiment was expressed publicly and during private conversations.

(See also Document No. 96.)

SECRET10

To the CPSU CC

23372

INFORMATION

on the Reactions of Workers in the City of Moscow to the Situation in Czechoslovakia

On 21 August, the Moscow municipal party organization launched its efforts to explain the TASS Statement to workers. At factories, plants, foundaries, and other workplaces a large number of party activists held discussions in accordance with materials published in the newspaper Pravda and featured in radio and television broadcasts.

During the discussions held with workers and during the collective readings in the factory divisions and at production sectors, Muscovites expressed many patriotic views, noting the cohesion of the Soviet peoples, as well as the effort to strengthen the ranks of the party and shore up the unity of the CPSU and the nation and the unity of the fraternal commonwealth of peoples of socialist countries. Alarm and worry also were expressed at what had just occurred in Czechoslovakia.

Along with this, in certain academic research institutes there were statements made against the measures taken by the Soviet government and the governments of the fraternal countries.

Thus, at a research institute for automated equipment, a senior research fellow and candidate of technical sciences, Andronov, who is not a party member, said that he does not understand who in Czechoslovakia, and on whose behalf, requested help from the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries, and he proposed a vote on a resolution at an assembly of researchers at the institute asking for clarification of the situation.

His speech was condemned by participants in the assembly.

10 A routing slip attached to the memorandum reads "For the Information of the CPSU CC Secretaries." All the
secretaries except Boris Ponomarev promptly saw the report. Ponomarev's absence is noted in handwriting on the back
of the routing slip.

-453-

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