Saturday, 16 March 2019

Soviet dissident Prokhorova speaks about 1968 invasion in Prague

ČTK |
24 August 2016

Prague, Aug 23 (CTK) - With the protest against the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops in 1968, Olga Iofe Prokhorova, one of the Soviet dissidents, wanted to keep her face and clear conscience, she told CTK on Tuesday.

Prokhorova, 66, staged a protest in January 1969 after Czech student Jan Palach immolated himself in protest against the occupation in Prague.

Along with Irina Kaplun, they held banners saying "For Jan Palach's Eternal Memory" and "Freedom for Czechoslovakia."

She said if she had not stood up against the activities of the Soviet regime in public, she would have had the feeling that she bore responsibility for it, too.

Prokhorova learnt about the occupation from the Voice of America and BBC which she listened to along with her parents in the former Soviet Union.

"It used to be written in the Soviet papers of the day that the whole Soviet nation supports the invasion," Prokhorova said.

"I had the feeling that if I did not do anything, I would be like the whole Soviet nation," she added.

Prokhorova said she knew she would have problems over her public protest against the occupation of Czechoslovakia, but she was not afraid of the consequences.

"I had the feeling that even at the cost of the problems, one has to keep clear conscience. It was vital for me to save my face. I had the feeling that in this way, I would save my face," she added.

Prokhorova said among her friends, there were many people whose parents and grandparents were victims of Stalinist oppression.

"Soon I had the feeling that they were afraid at that time and kept silent and if we are afraid and keep silent, we will be guilty of it, too, in a way," Prokhorova said.

As a 9th class student, Prokhorova spread leaflets against Stalin's ideological rehabilitation in 1966 already.

She stood up publicly against Czechoslovakia's invasion in January 1969.

Due to this, she was forced to spend two years in the notorious Kazan prison mental asylum, in which Natalia Gorbanevskaya was also held.

After she was released in 1971, she kept being active as a dissident, for which her persecution continued. In 1978, she emigrated to France.

Along with her husband, she worked in the Russian emigre magazine Russkaya Mysl.

She has been on a visit to the Czech Republic since Monday. Later on Tuesday, she will meet Foreign Ministry officials. In the evening, she will have a public debate in the Vaclav Havel Library in Prague.

Copyright 2015 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved.
Copying, dissemination or other publication of this article or parts thereof without the prior written consent of ČTK is expressly forbidden. The Prague Daily Monitor is not responsible for its content.