Thursday, June 27, 2019

Possible New Public Holiday

The Czech and Slovak governments are mad at Russia.  So much so that we may get a new public holiday in Czechland.
Here's what's going on...

On 23 May, Russian state television aired a "documentary" called "The Warsaw Pact - Declassified Pages".  The programme asserted that the Warsaw Pact  invasion of Czechoslovakia to put down the Prague Spring was actually a preemptive move to protect Czechoslovakia from a NATO-backed coup.

About 137 people were killed during the invasion with another 500 seriously wounded.  Immediately after the invasion some 70.000 people emigrated with another 300.000 people leaving by 1989.

So according to Russian state television the invasion of Czechoslovakia and removal of its leader was actually done to protect the country from NATO?  Really!??  This definitely sounds like some "alternative facts."  It also seems quite unlikely given that, in December 1989, the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, East Germany, Hungary, and Poland all apologised to Czechoslovakia for the invasion.

There's also a 1993 Czech-Russian treaty that condemns "the unacceptable use of force in 1968" and the "unjustifiable persistence of Soviet troops on Czechoslovak territory."


In addition, the Russian government has proposed an amendment to its veterans' law that also states that the invasion of Czechoslovakia was intended to stop a pending coup and to stabilise the country.

In response both Czechland and Slovakia have complained to Russia for seriously distorting historical facts.

The Chamber of Deputies, the Czech lower house of parliament, is supporting a new public holiday.  So far about 90 of the 200 members of parliament support designating 21 August as "Remembrance Day of the Victims of the Invasion and Subsequent Occupation by Warsaw Pact Troops."  A bit of a long name but I'd be good with having a new public holiday. 

Update:  The government recognised 21 August as "The Day of Memory of the Victims of the 1968 Invasion and Subsequent Occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact Troops."  It is now a "significant day" but not a public holiday.  There are now 15 significant days on the Czech calendar which are not public holidays.

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