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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 21, 1989

TELEPRINT FROM THE PRESIDIUM OF THE CC CPS TO THE SECRETARIES OF REGIONAL COMMITTEES OF THE CPCZ [AND] CPS AND THE PARTY MUNICIPAL COMMITTEES IN PRAGUE AND BRATISLAVA

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    The Presidium reports recent anti-socialist disturbances in Prague, with the organizers allegedly influencing and manipulating the public, especially targeting students. It is emphasized that the CPCz and CPS must maintain order, and affirm the socialist position through media outlets.
    "Teleprint from the Presidium of the CC CPS to the Secretaries of Regional Committees of the CPCz [and] CPS and the Party Municipal Committees in Prague and Bratislava," November 21, 1989, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SÚA, ÚV, KS— - teleprints and letters, ÚV-0135/ 89. Obtained by Oldøich Tùma. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/117209
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The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia

Prague, 21.11.1989

#ÚV-0135/89

Dear Comrades,

In the last few days a disturbance of the peace and public order occurred in Prague and a list of other places in our republic. The organizers of these acts abused a segment of the public, especially the student youth. They are dramatizing the situation, influencing the feelings and opinions of young people, heightening emotions. They are misusing the cultural front for this. Strikes are being organized in a series of theaters.

Revolutions and demands with ultimatums calling for cadre changes in the leading organs, for the resignation of the government, for the destruction and liquidation of the CPCz, for the discrediting of the SNB[1] (police). This is a direct attempt to overthrow the socialist order.

The forces of the opposition are trying to widen their influence beyond the scope of the capital. They are sending their organizers out to universities and various gatherings which are taking place in many areas at their initiative.

The current situation demands deliberate yet principled and offensive action on the part of all party organs and organizations and individual communists, in order not to let the situation slip out of our hands.

It is urgently necessary to mobilize party organizations, communists and all citizens who care about social-ism, to support the position of the CSSR government, the CSR and the SSR, made public on 21 November of this year, and to help bring about an atmosphere of peace and prudence.

The most important is mass political work among the people. The functionaries and apparatus of the party and peoples councils, the leading workers must go to the workers collectives to prevent efforts to call a general strike, which the forces of the opposition are planning for 27 November. Every managerial worker is personally responsible for the situation in his collective.

It is necessary to engage in discussions with the students and apprentices, who are being manipulated by irresponsible elements. It is especially important to strengthen the influence of the teachers and parents over the younger generation.

The main goal is to show convincingly that straining the situation is a threat to every citizen of our society, the safety of every family. The eventual strikes, which the opposition threatens to carry out, would significantly damage our national economy, lead our market and supplies to destruction (especially now in the winter period before the Christmas holiday).

The organizers of revolutionary acts will continue in their efforts to seek the support of the workers for their demands. They are trying to enlist support in the factories. Therefore it is necessary to prevent their emissaries from entering businesses, factories and other institutions and prevent them from using other methods of influencing the workers collectives. The factory management and party leadership must ensure proper defense of these interests. In these times the leading workers—communists and non-communists— must realize their responsibility for the handling of the political situation in their sphere of influence.

We must pay special attention to the media. The Presidium of the CC CPCz adopted measures which ought to stifle the high passions [of the public] and ensure uniform information [being given out by] the Czechoslovak Press Agency[2] (CTK), radio and television. Concrete tasks were handed down to the executive directors of these information agencies to this end.

The party press must influence the public. This applies in full also to regional, district, business and factory dissemination and information media. It is necessary for them to broadcast the positions of the workers collectives and individuals supportive of the politics of reconstruction and democratization, a dialog in the interests of socialism. The voices condemning the efforts to disrupt our society should be heard.

In this situation it is necessary to mobilize the ideological activists of the party, all those who have the ability to influence the opinion of communists and the public-at-large in the counties and districts. To ensure prompt information and uniformity of opinions, it is necessary to incorporate lecturers and propagandists of social organizations, including the Socialist Academy, into this group of activists.

We recommend that operational staffs be established in regional and district party committees, which would evaluate the situation, [and] its development and would propose concrete measures.

All party organs and organizations must act quickly, decisively and unanimously, and secure the support of the regional and district committees of the National Front, organizations affiliated with it, and national committees at all levels.

The positions and resolutions in support of the politics of the party should be sent without delay to the Central Committee of the CPCz.

The Presidium of the CC CPCz

[1] SNB - Sbor národní bezpe.nosti, policie (Public Security, i.e. Police).

[2] CTK - Ceskoslovenská tisková kanceláÍ (Czechoslovak Press Agency).