- Category : Political
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Split - Small (25,26,59)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Duality 2
Alexander Dubcek (November 27, 1921 – November 7, 1992) was a Slovak politician and briefly leader of Czechoslovakia (1968-1969), famous for his attempt to reform the Communist regime (Prague Spring). Later, after the overthrow of the Communist government, he was speaker of the federal Czechoslovak parliament (Federal Assembly).
An overview of his functions:
1951-1955 and 1960-1968 and 1969-1970: member of/ in 1969 speaker of the federal parliament (National Assembly, since 1969 called Federal Assembly)
1964-1970: member of the Slovak parliament (Slovak National Council)
1955-1968: member of / since 1962 member of the presidium of / since 1963 first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Slovakia
1958-1969: member of / 1960-1962 secretary of / since 1962 member of the presidium of / since 1968 first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia
1969-1970: ambassador to Turkey
1970: expelled from the Communist party
1989-1992: member of the VPN party (later called ODÚ-VPN)
1989-1992: speaker of the federal parliament (Federal Assembly)
1992: leader of the SDSS (Social Democratic Party of Slovakia); after the 1992 election, member of the parliament representing the SSDS
Dubcek was born in Uhrovec, Czechoslovakia (Slovakia), and raised in the Kyrgyz SSR of the Soviet Union (now Kyrgyzstan) as a member of the Esperantist industrial cooperative Interhelpo. His father, Štefan, moved from Chicago to Czechoslovakia after World War I, when he refused to serve in the military for his pacifism. Alexander Dub?ek was conceived in Chicago, but born after the family relocated to Czechoslovakia. There, Štefan became a founding member of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KS?). When Alexander Dub?ek was three, the family moved to the Soviet Union, in part to help build socialism and in part because jobs were scarce in Czechoslovakia. In 1938 the family returned to Czechoslovakia. During World War II, Alexander Dub?ek joined the underground resistance against the wartime pro-German Slovak state headed by Jozef Tiso. In August 1944, Dub?ek fought in the Slovak National Uprising and was wounded. His brother, Július, was killed. During the war, Alexander Dub?ek joined the Communist Party of Slovakia (KSS), which had been created after the formation of the Slovak state. After the war, he steadily rose through the ranks of the KSS, joining the KSS Central Committee in 1955. He was sent to the Moscow Political College in 1953, where he graduated in 1958. By 1962, he was a full member of the Central Committee of the KS?.
In 1963, a power struggle in the leadership of the KSS unseated Karol Bacílek and Pavol David, hard-line allies of Antonín Novotný, first secretary of the KS? and president of Czechoslovakia. In their place, a new generation of Slovak Communists took control of party and state organs in Slovakia, led by Alexander Dub?ek, who became KSS first secretary. Under Dub?ek's leadership, Slovakia began to evolve toward political liberalization. Because Novotný and his Stalinist predecessors had denigrated Slovak "bourgeois nationalists", most notably Gustáv Husák and Vladimír Clementis, in the 1950s, the KSS worked to promote Slovak identity. This mainly took the form of celebrations and commemorations, such as the 150th birthdays of nineteenth-century leaders of the Slovak National Revival ?udovít Štúr and Jozef Miloslav Hurban, the centennial of the Matica slovenská in 1963, and the twentieth anniversary of the Slovak National Uprising. At the same time, the political and intellectual climate in Slovakia became freer than that in the Czech Lands. This was exemplified by the rising readership of Kultúrny život, the weekly newspaper of the Union of Slovak Writers, which published frank discussions of liberalization, federalization and democratization, written by the most progressive or controversial writers -- both Slovak and Czech. Kultúrny život consequently became the first Slovak publication to gain a wide following among Czechs.
Monument, Alexander Dub?ekUnder Communism, the Czechoslovak economy in the 1960s was in serious decline and the imposition of central control from Prague disappointed local Communists while the destalinization program caused further disquiet. In October 1967, a number of reformers, most notably Ota Šik and Alexander Dub?ek, took action: they challenged First Secretary Antonín Novotný at a Central Committee meeting. Novotný faced a mutiny from his own Central Committee, so he secretly invited Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet premier, to make a whirlwind visit to Prague in December 1967 in order to shore up the embattled Novotný. When Brezhnev arrived to Prague and met with the Central Committee members, he was stunned to learn of the extent of the opposition to Novotný, leading Brezhnev to withhold support and paving the way for the Central Committee to remove Novotný. Dub?ek became the new first secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia on January 5, 1968.
The period following Novotný's downfall became known as the Prague Spring. During this time, Dub?ek and other reformers sought to liberalize the Communist regime, creating "socialism with a human face". Though this loosened the party's grip on the country, Dub?ek remained a devoted Communist and intended to preserve the party's rule. However, during the Prague Spring, he and other reform-minded Communists sought to win popular support for the Communist regime by eliminating its worst, most repressive features, allowing greater freedom of expression and tolerating political and social organizations not under Communist control. Yet Dub?ek found himself in an increasingly untenable position. The program of reform gained momentum, leading to pressures for further liberalization and democratization. At the same time, hard-line Communists in Czechoslovakia and the leaders of other Warsaw Pact countries pressured Dub?ek to rein in the Prague Spring. Though Dub?ek wanted to keep control of the reform movement, he refused to resort to draconian, neo-Stalinist measures to do so.
Attempted assassination with radioactive Strontium
Dub?ek was detained in Moscow in August 1968, and it is speculated that radioactive strontium was placed in his soup to kill him. He was allegedly hospitalized in Bratislava in January 1969 complaining of a "cold" and had to cancel a speech. A physical examination was carried out and it was rumored & disseminated by the CIA that a large dose of strontium was found in his body and that he had only two years to live. There was/is no reliable evidence at all and thus this may just be a 'cold war' propagandist story.
Dub?ek tried to reassure the Soviets that he was still friendly to Moscow, arguing that the reforms were an internal matter. He thought he had learned an important lesson from the failing of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, believing the Kremlin would allow him a free hand in pursuing domestic reform as long as Czechoslovakia remained a faithful ally of the Soviet Union, under Communist rule. Despite Dub?ek's continuing efforts to stress these commitments, Brezhnev and other Warsaw Pact leaders remained wary.
The Prague Spring ended shortly before midnight on August 20 1968, when Warsaw Pact forces entered Czechoslovakia. The occupying armies quickly seized control of Prague and the building where the Central Committee had been meeting, taking Dub?ek and other reformers into Soviet custody. But before they were arrested, Dub?ek urged the people not to resist. Later in the day, Dub?ek and the others were taken to Moscow on a Soviet military transport aircraft (reportedly one of the aircraft used in the Soviet invasion). Despite the inspired nonviolent resistance of the Czech and Slovak population, the reformers had little hope of holding out against Soviet pressure, and ultimately were forced to accede to Soviet demands, signing the Moscow Protocol. (Only František Kriegel refused to sign.) Dub?ek and most of the reformers were returned to Prague on August 27, and Dub?ek retained his post as KS? first secretary for a while. Indeed, the achievements of the Prague Spring were not rolled back overnight, but over a period of several months. Following the Czechoslovak Hockey Riots, Dub?ek was forced to resign as first secretary in April 1969, and was later made ambassador to Turkey (1969-70) in a hope that he would defect to the West (which he did not), before being expelled from the party in 1970. After his expulsion from the party, Dub?ek worked in the Forestry Service in Slovakia. He remained a popular figure among the Slovaks and Czechs he encountered on the job, using this reverence to procure scarce and hard-to-find materials for his workplace. Dub?ek and his wife, Anna, continued to live in a comfortable villa in a nice neighborhood in Bratislava. In 1988, Dub?ek was allowed to travel to Italy to accept an honorary doctorate from Bologna University, and while there he gave an interview with the Italian newspaper L'Unita, his first public remarks to the press since 1970. Dub?ek's appearance and interview helped to return him to international prominence.
During the Velvet Revolution of 1989, he supported the Public against Violence and the Civic Forum. When Dub?ek appeared with Havel on a balcony overlooking Wenceslas Square, he was greeted with uproarious applause from the throngs of protesters below, embraced as a symbol of democratic freedom. Dub?ek was elected speaker of the Federal Assembly on December 28, 1989, and re-elected in 1990.
At the time of the overthrow of Communist party rule, Dub?ek described the Velvet Revolution as a victory for his humanistic socialist outlook. In 1990, he received the International Humanist Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union.
Dub?ek died on November 7, 1992, as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash, that took place on September 1 on the Czech D1 highway, near Humpolec. He was buried in Slávi?ie údolie cemetery in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Dub?ek passively supported the union of the Czech lands of Bohemia and Moravia with Slovakia in a single, although federal, Czechoslovak state.