Prague, May 6 (CTK) – A new exhibition in the Senate highlights Czechoslovak parliament’s role in the events following the Soviet-led invasion 50 years ago and shows that the MPs first stood up against the occupation but later they approved a deal on the Soviet troops’ stay in the country.
Out of the National Assembly’s 300 members, 242 took part in the latter vote. Ten of them abstained from the vote and only four voted against.
The four were Frantisek Kriegel, Frantisek Vodslon, Gertruda Sekaninova-Cakrtova and Bozena Fukova.
Before, Kriegel was the only Czechoslovak leader to refuse to sign a protocol recognising the occupation in Moscow.
Sekaninova-Cakrtova was the only one to propose the departure of the Soviet troops.
Fukova helped negotiate the departure in 1990, when she was elected to parliament following the fall of the communist regime.
The exhibition also documents personnel changes at the head of parliament within the 1968 Prague Spring communist reform movement, when Josef Smrkovsky replaced Bohuslav Lastovicka in the post of chairman.
In 1968, the National Assembly was provisorily seated in a palace in Prague’s Gorki (now Senovazne) Square. After the August 21 invasion of teh Warsaw Pact troops, the parliament leadership held a meeting for eight days without a pause. The building was guarded by Soviet soldiers, which restricted the deputies’ contacts with the government and the president. They vowed not to leave the building voluntarily.
The assembly passed several documents against the occupation, the last of them on August 28. Two weeks later, on September 13, however, it passed bills aimed to restore the public peace and reintroduce censorship.
On October 18, it passed the above mentioned agreement on the Soviet troops’ temporary stay in Czechoslovakia.
Period photographs and documents at the exhibition highlight the life of the members of parliament during the eventful days of August 1968.
The exhibition is available at weekends and national holidays from 10:00 to 17:00. It runs through September 9.