Constitutional officials were out laying wreaths yesterday in commemoration of the people who died during and after the 1968 invasion to Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops, led by the Soviet army.
On the night of the 20th August in 1968, the Warsaw Pact tanks rolled in to occupy the territory of Czechoslovakia, ensuring that the country remained under the thumb of communism. Over 100 people were killed at the time, as any resistance was crushed.
At commemorations in Bratislava on Sunday, President Ivan Gasparovic said we should “forgive but not forget”, before delivering a speech about the importance of the Velvet Revolution of 1989, but how it was the period preceding it that taught Slovaks how to appreciate the freedom and values gained in 1989.
In a written statement Prime Minister Iveta Radicova denounced the communist regime as being based on corrupt and criminal practices. She said it not only claimed many innocent victims, but promoted the dampening of spirit, destruction of civilised European values, together with destruction of the nation’s memory and the economy.
Radicova said that now, the third decade of democracy since the 1989 revolution, should be a time for reinforcing a state of law, democracy and the development of a civil society.