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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 30, 1969

LETTER, SOVIET DEPUTY HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE P. IVANSHUTIN, ON CZECHOSLOVAK PROTESTS FOLLOWING CZECHOSLOVAK-SOVIET HOCKEY GAME

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    Letter describing anti-Soviet protests in Czechoslovakia following the defeat of the Soviets in the Ice Hockey World Championships.
    "Letter, Soviet Deputy Head of the Department of the Central Committee P. Ivanshutin, on Czechoslovak Protests following Czechoslovak-Soviet Hockey Game," March 30, 1969, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, RGANI. F. 5. Op. 61. D. 359. L. 246-248. Excerpts from Chapter 6 (“Crises of Eastern Europe in the Mirror of Sports”) of Bolshoy Sport I bol’shaya politika [Big Sport and Big Politics] (Moscow, ROSSPEN, 2004), translated for CWIHP by Alex Fisher. Published in CWIHP Working Paper #69, "The (Inter-Communist) Cold War on Ice." https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/119588
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Confidential

CC CPSU

Deputy Head of the Department of the Central Committee
for relations with the communist and workers
parties of socialist countries

To Comrade. Blatov A.I.

On March 28 of this year, immediately after the hockey match between the USSR and Czechoslovakia teams, in all major cities in Czechoslovakia where there are Soviet troops, began massive torch-light processions and demonstrations of young people. The gathering of demonstrators began organized and quickly, according to a predetermined plan.

In the city of Ústí nad Labem (65 km northwest of Prague) a crowd of 2,000 people surrounded the administration of the military commandant of the garrison, overturning and burning that which was located in the square, passenger and commercial vehicles, three motorcycles, smashed all of the glass in windows, broke all doors, and cut off all communication wires. In these excesses participated servicemen of the CAN [Czechoslovak Naional Army—ed.].

In the city of Mladá Boleslav (40 km northeast of Prague) a crowd of delinquents numbering up to 1,000 people, among whom were 40-50 servicemen of the CNA, in the course of three hours of besieging the entrance of the military base[1] 275 mrr 18 mrd. Hooligans threw stones at the gate and at the windows of the barracks. As a result, two Soviet soldiers were slightly wounded in the head and more than 200 windows were knocked out. These actions were accompanied by threats against Soviet troops and the shouting of : “Occupiers,” “Invaders,” “fascists.” Hooligans threw firecrackers, rockets, and fired several rounds from machine guns. Before the security checkpoint (KPP) of 18 mrd 275 mrr was posted black flag. At the gates of the security checkpoint regiment one of the delinquents dealt a blow with a knife on the gearshift assistant on duty, Sergeant Ephraim junior. The knife was stuck in the folds of his coat, not wounding Ephraim.

In the city of Teplice (70 km northwest of Prague) a crowd of rampaging hooligans surrounded the Soviet war commandant and knocked out almost all of the window glass.

In the city of Trutnov (110 km northeast of Prague) more than 3,000 people surrounded the military base 914 ar, tried to enter the barracks, shouting abusive remarks and throwing firecrackers.

In the city of Olomouc (60 km northeast of Brno) in front of the main office of the Military Hospital gathered more than 2,500 people with anti-Soviet slogans: “Russians, go home,” “Invaders,” etc. They damaged cars, and smashed the glass of ten windows. The demonstration [was] led by servicemen of the CNA.

In the city of Hradec Králové (90 km east of Prague) up to 20,000 demonstrators took to the streets. The crowd gathered at the monument of a tank to Soviet soldiers, became outraged over it and tried to burn it. In front of the Soviet commandant they shouted anti-Soviet slogans.

In the city of Ostrava (130 km northeast of Prague) an anti-Soviet demonstration was attended by about 10,000 people. Demonstrators turned the car of a Soviet hospital, broke glass and lights, and slashed tires.

In the city of Havlíčkův Brod (90 km southeast of Prague) up to 5,000 people gathering in front of the building of the military commandant shouted anti-Soviet slogans and broke the glass of the windows.

During the hockey game, a military commander and a member of the military council CGF were with the Soviet military delegation CMD, headed by general Bisyarinyj at 104 mrr 19 mrd of the CNA in the city of Tachov, where they were received by the commander of the Western War Division of the CAN, general Shadek. While at dinner, they heard how the entire personnel of the regiment sang the national anthem of the CSR after every goal scored. Upon leaving the town after the match, it was noted that all the windows of the barracks were open, shouting was heard, whistling, lobbing rockets, firecrackers exploded. Under the car of the CGF commander was thrown a firecracker.

On the question of how do you assess the situation in the country, with irritation Shadek said: “There’s an ongoing mess and as long as this wimp Dubcek is in this leadership, there will be no order.”

According to reports, anti-Soviet demonstrations and rallies continued into March 29 of the same year.[2]

March 30, 1969 P. Ivanshutin

[1] In Russian, it literally says “military town.”

[2] On the 29th of March a demonstration occurred in Prague itself: in the streets were held many thousands of anti-Soviet demonstrations, they destroyed the “Aeroflot” building in Czechoslovakia and others.