KGB watched Czechoslovak Communist Party´s leaders - archive


13.08.2014 13:08

Prague/Cambridge - The KGB Soviet secret service collected detailed information about the relations among the Czechoslovak Communist Party (KSC) leaders in the 1970s and 80s since it mistrusted them after 1968, historian Prokop Tomek has told CTK.


Archivní středisko Winstona Churchilla v britském univerzitním městě Cambridge zpřístupnilo větší část zápisků Vasilije Mitrochina (na snímku je jeden ze svazků), který byl v letech 1972 až 1984 hlavním archivářem sovětské tajné služby KGB. ČTK Dospiva Jakub

He commented on the documents from the Mitrokhin Archive that was opened to the public in Cambridge in the summer.

The Mitrokhin Archive is a collection of handwritten notes made secretly by KGB Major Vasili Mitrokhin from 1972 to 1984, during his years as a KGB archivist. The British intelligence helped Mitrokhin with his family and the documents flee to Britain. He died in 2004.

"It (KGB) monitored the situation in the KSC mainly after 1968, which was a certain upheaval. There was a permanent mistrust," Tomek, renowned Czech expert in communist secret services, said.

He explained that the Soviet leaders did not trust Czechoslovak politicians following the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact troops' invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968, which crushed the communist-led reform movement, known as the Prague Spring. This is why the KGB kept voluminous records on the KSC senior officials, such as Gustav Husak (1913-1989), the last Czechoslovak communist president in 1975-1989, and Milos Jakes, KSC general secretary in 1987-89.

The Mitrokhin Archive includes, for instance, a report from 1973, saying then KSC control commission chairman Jakes complained in December 1972 that the then KSC general secretary Husak had introduced a tough regime in the party´s Central Committee and had even organised wiretapping of the leadership members´ phones.

Mitrokhin´s notes of this kind are very interesting since such information cannot be found in Czech archives, Tomek noted.

According to its internal directives, the StB communist secret police was banned from recruiting its collaborators among the KSC members, and this is why StB documents do not include reports on events in the KSC, Tomek said, adding that the reason were fears of the StB´s too excessive power after the political trial of leading Communists in the 1950s.

"StB was not monitoring political views inside the KSC," he said.

The KGB records sometimes show scepticism about what was happening in the ranks of Czechoslovak Communists, for instance, about the KSC getting rid of the "Communists-Internationalists" at the beginning of "normalisation" in the early 1970s when a tough communist regime was re-installed.

Agents quite often informed the KGB headquarters in Moscow about Husak. One of the reports says his psychological condition was affected by the nine years he spent in prison in the 1950s.

Another archive material reflects the criticism of the low level of the KSC´s ideological work, which "does not correspond to the current needs."

Working relations in the KSC leadership were reportedly possible only because its members knew about Moscow´s clear support to Husak and Vasil Bilak (1917-2014). "The situation in the KSC presidium depends on their relation to a high extent," one report says.

Bilak, KSC secretary and chief party ideologist in 1968-1988, was one of the officials who "had invited" the Warsaw Pact troops to Czechoslovakia to suppress the Prague Spring.

The Mitrokhin Archive also reveals that both Husak and the KGB were interested in Alexandr Dubcek (1921-92), one of the Prague Spring reform Communist leaders. In 1982, a Prague KGB branch reported to Moscow that the Czechoslovak authorities had deployed five agents and technicians to shadow Dubcek.

The archive documents also show that the KGB closely watched Czechoslovak Communists even during their visits to Moscow.

One report complains that a delegation of the Czechoslovak Culture Ministry visiting Moscow in 1978 intentionally left behind the souvenirs from the Soviet Culture Ministry in the hotel room, including a biography of then supreme Soviet leader Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev.

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