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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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  • July 21, 1968

    Shelest's Account of His Secret Meeting on Lake Balaton with Vasil Bil'ak, 20-21 July 1968

    Excerpt from diary of the First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party, Petro Shelest. Shelest recounts his secret meeting with the Slovak Communist Party leader, Vasil Bil'ak, on the shore of Lake Balaton in Hungary. The meeting took place late in the evening of 20-21 July, exactly a month before the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia.

  • August, 1968

    Letter from Czech Communist Politicians to Brezhnev Requesting Soviet Intervention in Prague Spring

    In August 1968 a small group of pro-Moscow hardliners in the Czechoslovak Communist Party, led by Vasil Bilak, wrote two letters requesting urgent assistance from the Soviet Union to thwart the imminent "counterrevolution" in Czechoslovakia. Both letters were addressed to Leonid Brezhnev, the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party (CPSU), and both were written in Russian to ensure that they would be read promptly. The first (and more important) letter was signed by Bilak and four of his colleagues: Drahomir Kolder, Alois Indra, Oldrich Svestka, and Antonin Kapek. Brezhnev later used the letter as a formal justification for the impending military invasion of Czechoslovakia.

  • August 03, 1968

    Shelest's Account of the Transfer of the 'Letter of Invitation'

    Excerpt from diary of the First Secretary of the Ukrainian Communist Party, Petro Shelest. Shelest describes arrangements to receive a letter from Vasil Bil'ak, a written appeal for urgent military assistance from the Soviet Union to thwart an imminent "counterrevolution" in Czechoslovakia.