NID: CZECHOSLOVAKIA: TEETERING BETWEEN OLD AND NEW

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Document Number (FOIA) /ESDN (CREST): 
06826748
Release Decision: 
RIPPUB
Original Classification: 
U
Document Page Count: 
2
Document Creation Date: 
November 26, 2019
Document Release Date: 
December 10, 2019
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Case Number: 
Publication Date: 
July 25, 1989
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PDF icon NID CZECHOSLOVAKIA TEET[15743525].pdf71.63 KB
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Approved for Release: 2019/10/29 C06826748 'Thr´┐Żletwet. Special Analysis CZECHOSLOVAKIA: Teetering Between Old and Nov Pressures far change are building slowly. although dissident actirity could become more focused and widespread as a resu t of change in the USSR and elsewhere in Eastern Europe. Dissidents. former Dubcck-cra politicians. and religious leaders seem inure willing titan ever to cooperate for political and religious freedoms. Emboldened by the political liberalization elsewhere in the Bloc, they are increasingly vocal in calling for such reforms as freedom of speech and political pluralism. Several times in the past year. thousands of demonstrators have marched in Prague to press their demands. actions that are unprecedented since the 1968 Soviet invasion. Although open defiance of the regime's policies is spreading to a broader spectrum of intellectuals as well as some younger lrtv members, the public for the most part remains apathetic The regime is still dominated by hardliners who, seeing the erosion of Communist authority in Poland and Hungary. oppose liberalization because they fear it will lead to social instabithy and their losing power. Jan Fojtik. Prague's chief ideologue. has underscored regime concerns by publicly warning of counterrevolution in Hungary. Pragmatists in the lower ranks, spurred by Soviet calls to reform. seem more willing to advocate change. but their strength appears limited. Polish Solidarity activists arc increasing their contacts with Czechoslovak dissidents and arc ready to give them advice and material support. This connection might spark a broader challenge, and the leadership's instinct will be to crack down. Pragmatists in the party seem to be increasingly uncomfortable with su ijciesJiower. and the result may be more vacillation. In the absence of strong pressure front the populace or front within the party. President Gorbachev's reforms in the USSR arc the major catalyst for change in Czechoslovakia. and against that Soviet backdrop the party rank and file in Czechoslovakia increasingly see their leaders as out of step. The growing gulf between Czechoslovak practice and the Soviet model means that the hardliners' position is - likely to erode as opportunists and fence-sitters in the party shift with the winds from Moscow. Preparations for the next party congress in May 1990 are likely to sharpen debate and trigger new tressure front cl within and outsi e the party on the Jakcs leadership. 14 TM.---irSti) 'rC8 2871189 25 July 1989 Approved for Release: 2019/10/29 C06826748 Approved for Release: 2019/10/29 C06826748 Polish Solidarity Increases its Support to Opponents of Czechoslovak Regime Representatives of Solidarity's parliamentary faction met openly over the weekend in Czechoslovakia with Vaclay Havel: Cardinal Tomasek, head of the Czechoslovak Catholic Church: former party leader Alexander Dubcck: and other independent activists. The Poles and the Czechoslovaks issued a joint communique calling for release of Czechoslovak political prisoners and citing the Polish roundtable negotiations as an example for Czechoslovakia. In addition. Polish-Czechoslovak Solidarity, a group founded in 1978 to exchange information and coordinate dissident activities in the two countries, has smuggled four 60-watt radio transmitters into Czechoslovakia. Radio Solidarity provided the equipment, and its experts plan to begin clandestine Czech language broadcasts next month, possibly keyed to the anniversary of the Soviet occupation. The Solidarity visit and technical support probably will spur Czechoslovak dissidents to form a united opposition. The Prague regime surely recognizes the risks of inaction but probably was reluctant to intervene because the Poles represent a legal party that Moscow has shown it is willing to deal with. Failure to react will probably increase the perception that the regime is not in control and may encourage more people to actively defy its policies. To ret 105287 25 July 1989 Approved for Release: 2019/10/29 C06826748