Russia was motivated by two factors into attacking CSSR: the fear of upheaval and possible revolt in Ukraine and the need for Moscow to move its strategic military base close to the boundaries of the American sphere of influence — West Germany and neutral Austria. In Ukraine the situation has been at boiling point for years. The presence of Russian troops in CSSR, which now encircle Ukraine from the sides of Poland, Hungary and CSSR, gives Moscow a greater guarantee of a chance to put down revolts in Ukraine and possible chain reactions of analogous revolts in other enslaved countries, than an open side of CSSR, a country, it is true, with a Communist regime but which until a short while ago was not occupied by Russian troops. This could have given a chance to American troops, for example, to advance into CSSR and to surrounded the “GDR” and to wedge Western forces into the Russian imperial structure thus strengthening the revolutionary course in Ukraine with all its consequences. The attaining of a new strategic position by Moscow through the occupation of CSSR and in particular the placement of its troops at the frontiers of the German Federal Republic and Austria creates a new composition of power in Europe. Moscow has made a flank attack on the “GDR” as well as the surrounding of the Russian Army by the American forces through CSSR impossible and has at the same time put the United States in danger of a thermo-nuclear war if the US forces were to march into CSSR where they would come into direct conflict with the Russian Army. Once more Churchill’s old plan has fallen through. As is widely known, Churchill wanted to land troops in Yugoslavia during World War II so as to prevent the Russians at least from entering central Europe. Amidst the changed conditions the Russians have once more blockaded the old British concept — wedging themselves into the Russian sphere and the breaking up of the entire Russian strategic military power, which is now becoming master of central Europe, without the West being such a threat to Russia as the British had hoped. More than that, the Russian missiles can be found along the frontiers of the whole of free Germany and Austria and the whole NATO radar system is of no use. Russia is strategically dominant in the centre of Europe. She has a 3:1 military advantage in conventional arms in comparison with NATO.
When we take into account the build-up of the navy, which now stands second to that of the United States, the domination of the Mediterranean where the Russian navy is equal in strength to the American Sixth Fleet, the obtaining for the Russian empire of bridgeheads in Egypt or Algeria, the open way to the Indian Ocean and also the threat of the Russian fleet to the Italian ports, there is no doubt that the Russian strength has grown externally, however weak it is internally.
In a broader political scheme, the occupation of CSSR is a prerequisite to the possible armed intervention in West Germany. There is no doubt that Russia has her own solution to the German problem. It is: bringing together “GDR” and FRG into one entity under a pro-Russian government, united under the Communist, that is pro-Russian flag. No suggestions from Bonn will appease Russia, because she does not and will not have any intention of conducting talks with Bonn. She does not need a national German government but a satellite government. This is part of the political plan of Russia — to prepare the ground for armed intervention in Germany. The first prerequisite has been carried out. Russian paratrooper airborne divisions have been posted on the frontiers of CSSR. The politically “legal” preparation has begun. Moscow declares that “according to its obligations, which result from its treaty in Potsdam, the members of the anti-Hitler coalition are responsible for prohibiting German militarism and Hitlerism from rising again.” (Pravda, IS. IX. 1968) The referring of its responsibilities towards the UN Charter gives a “legal” basis for armed intervention. Articles 53 and 107 of the UN Charter single out Germany as a permanent enemy, against which other countries which have signed the original Charter of the UN can intervene. By referring to these articles in 1948 the USSR by its veto prevented the UN from investigating the Berlin blockade; in 1960 the USSR also made impossible the debate about the position of German prisoners of war by citing Article 107 of the Charter. Moreover none of the countries of the great anti-Hitler coalition has declared that these articles are unlawful or are not obligatory. Even now, when the Russians have declared that they have a right to intervene in the internal affairs of Germany because “Nazism and militarism” is being revived, not one of the Western powers stated clearly and unequivocally that these articles of the UN Charter are now completely inapplicable. And so at the request of Bonn London stated: “In this situation articles about enemy countries cannot be applied”, but in which situations they can be applied London did not say. Paris stated that Moscow’ interpretation is “deceptive and inaccurate” but what the accurate interpretation is Paris did not say. Washington stressed that articles 107 and 53 do not give Moscow the rights to “intervene” unilaterally by using arms in the Federal Republic of Germany ...” But Washington was silent as to whether a multilateral intervention is possible. Instead, the Russians, in accordance with the opinion of their international jurist D. B. Levin, interpret the Potsdam treaty in a way which gives each signatory the right to intervene independently and individually, because each carries a separate responsibility for Germany as a whole. In this sense Moscow also explains the articles of the UN Charter. “International law is a form of class warfare” — says D. B. Levin, and this means that it is also possible to intervene at any moment under the pretext of the interest of the proletariat or some mad intellectuals, hurt by “militarism and Nazism.” In actual fact the answers of the Western allies not only gave no help to Bonn, but made the situation even more complicated, because not one of the powers stated clearly that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES could the Russians interpret Article 53 and 107 of the UN Charter nor the Potsdam treaty as they see fit but on the contrary each left a little opening for Moscow ... Is this not a straightforward invitation to intervention!?
The experience with Hungary in 1956 at the time of President Eisenhower and Dulles, the experience with CSSR at the time of Johnson and Rusk, manifest that the United States will not intervene on behalf of the victims. The USA is adhering to the conception of a world divided into two parts. In all probability it would not take armed action against Russia if she were to march into West Germany stating that in accordance with the UN Charter and the Potsdam treaty Russia was “preventing” the rebirth of “Nazism and militarism”, and would be ready to negotiate in connection with the removal of her troops as soon as a really “democratic” government has been set up ... Of course, as a result of these talks the Russian divisions would remain on the Rhine “together with” the American and other forces ... With such a “conciliatory” posture the United States would not risk a nuclear war, because Moscow’s retaliation would follow immediately. The conventional forces of NATO are in the proportion 1:3, a substantial risk — with the present policy of neglecting to support the national liberation movement of nations subjected in the USSR and the satellite countries, a risk too great to be taken. Therefore the United States would in all probability be willing to begin talks. From this point of view, the recent espionage affairs in Germany also have their significance. They are in a way also connected with Moscow’s plans, for instance, the preparation of a putsch and with the help of the pro-Russian conspirators to attempt a coup d’etat, and for the “protection of the world against the revival of German militarism and Nazism.” Moscow’s help is indispensable, so to speak. Under such pretext the Russian troops can enter West German territory ... It is possible that an admiral and a general would have asked for “help” from Russia .. . This far-reaching intelligence affair is consistent with political and “legal” preparation for the intervention in Germany. A “blitzkrieg” in Germany carefully worked out from a strategic point of view, so as not to come into contact with the American forces, which could be blockaded by parachute formations’ securing of key positions in Germany and in Bonn, would not necessarily lead to a nuclear war, if the direct clash with the American army could be avoided.
Therefore the occupation of CSSR is a stepping stone from which it would be possible to subject W. Germany, and this means the rest of Europe because England, France, Italy and Spain are capable of successfully opposing Russia even without help from the United States, but without the economic and military strength of Germany they are incapable of successful resistance, even more so, when the nations enslaved by Moscow, the strongest explosive power inside the Russian prison of nations are completely disregarded. But at the moment nobody considers them as having military and political potential!
We are prepared to wager that Brezhnev agreed to Novotny’s removal and allowed Dubcek’s reformism in order to give a pretext to the army for marching in, for it is clear that this was impossible under the Stalinist rule of Novotny. Then the plans of Moscow could have been exposed all too clearly! But now everything is revolving around the so-called liberalization, “the deviation from the positions of Marxism- Leninism”, but nobody mentions the fact that Russian divisions have been posted on the borders of the free part of Germany and Austria, that rockets can be found all along the borders of the whole of free Germany and so on and so forth. Russia could have used economic sanctions against the CSSR but she did not. It is uncertain that the West would help because one ultimatum from Moscow would be enough for Prague not to make concessions to the West. Moscow was concerned about having its military formations in the strategically important positions in Bohemia, in the centre of Europe. At the same time, it wanted to surround Ukraine, by stationing its army in CSSR, the only open window, militarily speaking!
Washington was again silent as in 1956. If the Russians were to occupy W. Germany with the help of a carefully thought out plan, I am not sure that the Americans would try to expel them?! Surely there are no conventional armed forces in Western Europe that could be an effective counterweight to the Russian forces; therefore the West is afraid of a nuclear war, a fear that the Russians are counting on. But they are not prepared to do the most important thing, that is, support the national liberation revolutions of the subjugated nations, so as to break up the Russian prison of nations and the Communist system from the inside, without a nuclear war.
There is, however, no doubt that Ukraine has held and still holds a key position in this. To surround it by her military forces from the side of the CSSR as well, has been an aim no less important to Russia than establishing a stepping stone for the conquest of further parts of Europe, or what remains of it. Of course this grasping action has its disadvantage for Russia. But they are less grave than those about which the Western press is shouting, namely the decomposition of the Communist parties and the break-up of the world Communist movement. It is both good and desirable that the world Communist movement has been splintered, has no unitary leadership and so on. But this is not decisive. In comparison with the strengthening of military and politically strategic positions this carries no less weight. Why?! Let us not forget that the crushing of the Hungarian revolt in 1956 has not noticeably weakened the position of Russia in that respect. The condemnation of Moscow’s aggression towards CSSR by some Communist parties is dictated by the pressure of public opinion of the given countries and not by the convictions of the leaders of the parties. They would be pleased to find some excuse for Moscow, to help save face before the public opinion of their own nations! It is not the achievement of the true “Communists”, or “true Marxists”, but the pressure of the popular masses whose support they want to obtain! More than that, even India did not condemn Moscow for such naked aggression!
A consequence of the conflict between Moscow and Peking is rivalry in assistance given to Hanoi, e. g. Ho Chi Minh receives more aid from two separate sources than he would if the two were completely united.
In Latin America for example as long as objective conditions for the existence of the Communist Party are not removed, as long as national and social justice is not attained, as long as a new vision of the great and the magnificent both in the national and social field is not given, as long as a new or renewed faith in one’s nation and a Christian faith which fights for national and social justice is not attained these broad popular masses will not understand the essence of the conflict with Moscow and even though they have seen Russia’s aggressive acts towards CSSR for them the events around CSSR will be remote, incomprehensible and Communism will not grow weaker!
Disputes between the Communist parties and Moscow are helping to strengthen their parties’ positions among their supporters who, one can assume, are not working for Moscow.
The crushing of the Hungarian revolt did not reduce the number of members in the Italian Communist party, for example, although here and there some criticism was expressed by its leaders toward the Communist party of the Soviet Union.
The Communist party of France did not decrease in number either, because the number of seats in parliament is not a decisive factor, but a result of voter preference, and does not reflect the true strength of a given party in the broad circles of workers or other strata of society, for example. The gist of the matter is whether the Communist parties which today are critical of the invasion of CSSR will take the side of their own countries in the event of a conflict with Russia or will they be her acting fifth columns. Torez showed that his loyalty to Russia was greater than to his own country when he sabotaged the defence system of France during the attack by Hitler because at that time the latter was an ally of the USSR!
A greater minus for Moscow than the decomposition of the Communist party is the systematic realization by the patriotic circles of the West, that only an armed show-down with Russia will save their country because Moscow is always acquiring more and more new countries and new strategic positions (the Mediterranean, the Arab world, parts of Latin America, Africa and Asia). One can only imagine what the fate of subjugated non-Communist countries and the treatment of their leaders would be when such fate met CSSR and Moscow’s protege Dubcek and the hero of the USSR, General Svoboda...
When the Russian military fleet can be found in Alexandria and is blocking the Suez, when it has ports in Algeria and can blockade Gibraltar, when it has access to the “soft” as Churchill called it “heel of Europe” — Italy, when nuclear warheads can be found in the Sudetes what is the chance for France or Italy to defend itself without including the subjugated nations in a broad jointly conceived and mutually realized anti-Russian revolutionary liberation front of the whole of freedom-loving mankind?! This is the only chance of saving the free world too. The slow realization by the West of the importance of the enslaved nations which are the Achilles’ heel of the empire as well as Russian domination of the Mediterranean which ceases to be mare nostrum (“our sea”), but is now a Russo- American sea, the sea of the powers which geographically do not belong here and are strangers to this area, are a plus of the invasion of CSSR. A revolution of the subjugated nations can save the West and the present task of the free world is to support it. More than ever before it appears that whoever helps us helps himself! Time is on our side now, because of the faults of Russia herself. The world’s salvation lies in the fight of subjugated nations, in their uprisings! Their driving force is UKRAINE; therefore once again Ukraine has become the revolutionary problem of the world! That is why Moscow prompted its puppets Shelest and Podgorny to be “uncompromising” in connection with the invasion of CSSR. There is also another side of the medal: nuclear warheads from western regions of Ukraine have been moved further to the west which at least partly removes the danger of destroying a certain part of Ukraine. Contradiction follows contradiction in the system of the imperialistic aggression of Moscow! But Moscow cannot avoid them.
However hard Moscow would scheme, however hard it would try to hide the importance of Ukraine, Ukraine’s key position will always come to the fore. This happened on the occasion of the events surrounding CSSR. The widening of the occupational zones by the Russian army is instrumental in the weakening of pressure on countries subjugated in the USSR.'The troops which are in the CSSR or DDR, or in Poland cannot be in Turkestan or in Ukraine. The forces of the KGB which have to look after the freedom-loving Czechs and Slovaks, the Germans, Poles, or Hungarians or which can be found on the frontiers of China, cannot be in Ukraine. The ratio of Russians to non-Russians cannot be changed, regardless of the policy of the Diaspora, the forced resettlement of members of individual nations; the ratio 1:3 of Russians to the non- Russians still remains when the satellite countries are taken into account. If so, then the relationship between the conventional forces of NATO in Europe and the Warsaw Pact could be changed basically to 3:1 if the West would support the policy of liberation. The policy of liberation lessens the human military potential of Moscow because the fighters in the Soviet army who are not of Russian origin and soldiers in the satellite armies tend to sympathize more with the West.
In this way the attitude of the conventional forces of NATO in Europe towards the Warsaw Pact changes to the benefit of NATO in the ratio of something like 3:1, if we also take into account the fighters of subjugated nations who, as it was at the beginning of the German campaign in the East, began to go over to the side of Germany until it became obvious that Germany is the invader and is not helping to liberate them.
It is possible that even the situation in CSSR would have a different appearance if the Czechs and Slovaks felt that the West is supporting them. There is no doubt that in those circumstances the Czechs and Slovaks would have put up armed resistance against the Russian invaders. Of course armed resistance by the Czechs and Slovaks would have resulted in many casualties but it would give rise to a great legend of heroism and courage and would perhaps have stirred the events to a different course for it is not known what would have happened if the Czechs and Slovaks would have fought. One cannot judge where the casus belli is nor when the chain reaction of revolts will begin. It is not possible to calculate and foresee everything rationally.
We have no intention of denying the fact that Dubcek and Svoboda wanted some liberalization as did Gomulka in his time. But we do not cease to maintain that Gomulka saved Poland for Russia. In our opinion Dubcek, Svoboda and Smrkovsky objectively carried out this function. The CSSR has been forced to remain a power in the Russian bloc and the role of a go- between, whether he wanted it or not, was undertaken by Dubcek. The people trusted Gomulka for a short while after he had been freed from prison, but the latter could not free himself from the pressure of ideas of the Russian world. In the same way neither Dubcek nor the hero of the USSR- Gen. Svoboda will be able to do this. If it had not been for this trust in Dubcek the Czechs and Slovaks would have risen up in arms and it is unknown how the Russian aggressive action would have ended then! It is possible that the Hungarian-style crushing would have been repeated, but even that would have left a more grandiose historic landmark and a signpost for the future.
It is possible that this would have led to a chain of revolutions and in turn to the fall of the empire, but complications with the West cannot be ruled out because there would arise the problem of volunteers from the free world, who would rush to the help of the victims. Nobody can foretell what consequences blood shed for the truth can bring even suddenly and instantly! Every nation has its own style. The Czech nation has its own. However we do not think that the descendants of Huss would be silent if they had no trust in their leaders. But Communists can never be leaders in a liberation fight against the centre and Mecca of their ideas — Moscow. They are its slaves to a greater or lesser extent.
No nation can ever free itself from Russian yoke by a separate, isolated fight, without common aims and without synchronized insurgent revolts. Without the realization of the concept of ABN there will be no freeing of nations because whoever does not support it, has to count on foreign bayonets. The events around CSSR and the Hungarian revolution of 1956 have shown that the American bayonets no longer stand for freedom but for the status quo.
Source: Stetsko Y. The Russian Invasion Of CSSR And Ukraine / Archive of OUN. ABN Correspondence. – 1969, 2. – P.11-16.