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ForMin: Czech delegation should speak of 1968 invasion in Russia

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Prague, Nov 21 (CTK) – The Czech delegation led by President Milos Zeman that is visiting Russia this week should talk about the distorted view of the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia that appeared on the website of the Russian army TV network Zvezda, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Zaoralek sharply criticised the article which claimed that the invasion by Warsaw Pact armies and subsequent occupation of the country by Soviet troops prevented a Western coup and that the Czechs should be grateful to Russia.

Zaoralek said his condemnation is the official stance of the Czech government and he told about it to the team that accompanies Zeman in Russia. “I told Zeman’s team to open the issue during the talks in the Russian Federation.

Zeman said previously the 1968 invasion was a crime and Zeman’s opinion has remained unchanged, his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said in reaction.

A member of the Czech delegation told CTK that the article made Zeman angry. Zeman will use one of the opportunities during his visit to protest against the article, the source said.

On Wednesday, Zeman is to meet Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Gorki near Moscow.

After his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on Tuesday, Zeman condemned those who tried to falsify history.

Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky said the statements that appeared on the Russian website about the 1968 Soviet invasion were blatant lies. It is unfortunate that they were released during the visit of the Czech president to Russia, he said.

Other Czech politicians said the article humiliated the Czech Republic.

“Any decent person should leave (Russia) after this. This applies to the 120 entrepreneurs, too,” opposition TOP 09 deputy chairman Marek Zenisek said, referring to the large Czech business delegation accompanying Zeman in Russia.

Mayors and Independents (centrist opposition STAN) head Petr Gazdik said the article is full of propaganda and it shows the importance of being part of the European democratic states.

“By continuing his visit, Zeman turns the Czech Republic into vassals of Putin’s Russia,” STAN politician Jan Farsky said.

The Soviet-led troops of five Warsaw Pact countries invaded Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968 to crush the Communist reform movement, known as Prague Spring. As from then Soviet troops permanently stayed at various bases in the country. The last Soviet soldiers were withdrawn from Czechoslovakia in 1991, following the 1989 collapse of the communist regime.

“The entry of the troops into Czechoslovakia (in 1968) prevented the West from accomplishing a coup d’état based on the technologies applied in the ‘velvet’ revolutions and preserved the life in peace for more than 20 years with the consent of all nations of the Warsaw Pact,” writes the author of the article, Leonid Maslovsky, who has a reputation of a reporter trying to rehabilitate the Soviet regime.

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