The “Prague spring” was caused not by Western propagandists and Russian thinkers

My memories of meetings in the summer of 1967 with many coming ideologists of the “Prague spring” provoked the recent “minority report” Maxim Shevchenko on “echo of Moscow”. This time Maxim Shevchenko, in the new role of the Creator of the “Union of the left intelligentsia,” with his characteristic passion proved that if Brezhnev introduced in August 1968, Soviet troops in Prague, socialism with a human face would be preserved, strengthened, and enriched the human civilization of the third way. In short, as he wrote in his memoirs, Zdenek Mlynarz, comrade dubček and other student youth of Mikhail Gorbachev, “the cold from the Kremlin killed “Prague spring”. And all of this followed, as said Maxim Shevchenko that the liberal left has not only dream, but also a scientifically sound project that is the fault of the USSR did not come true.

photo: Alex geldings

But honestly, when I listened to an impassioned speech by Maxim Shevchenko in defense of the “Prague spring”, I was thinking about that the facts and lessons of the socialist experiment in Russia and Eastern Europe — themselves. And our Russian faith in the possibility of the impossible and, most importantly, useless. It would seem that the twentieth century has taught us — no middle ground: freedom and the stubs of the mobilization of a militarized economy or ancient as the world market based on private property. The verdict of the Soviet system is inherent in the idea of communism to turn the mobilization of a militarized economy to normal life. But the mobilization of the Soviet economy is the extreme stretching of the decade, the state of emergency. And any state of emergency by its very nature, something temporary, doomed to death.

Now, it would seem that after the whole experience of socialist construction and reform, it should be clear that the idea of socialism with a human face (Jaruzelski spoke of personalist socialism) occurs when there is no political opportunity to abandon the main ties of the Soviet model — from the leadership of the Communist party. Then there is a need to come up with different ways of humanization imposed the Soviet system, without encroaching on its foundations, without entering into conflict with the Soviet leadership. And the Czechs and poles can understand that no one then could imagine that in 20 years destroyed the USSR and will not be any threat of a repeat of what happened in November 1956 in Budapest. But what’s the point again to invent a utopia, to tell stories about the greatness of the project of humanistic socialism, when no longer alive, his ancestor, there is no threat of “frost from the Kremlin”.

And what is amazing — as always in Russia, defender of our faith in the possibility of the impossible is the enemy, a reference to an external factor. Fighters “blackening Soviet history” I think that the external factor — the West and the CIA — spawned not only the “color” revolutions, but also in Budapest in 1956 and Prague 1968.

I in life was lucky in the sense that fate brought me early in the summer of 1967, an externship in Prague at Charles University and that I had the opportunity for more than a month to communicate with scientists, intellectuals, who, as, for example, OTA Shik and Radovan Richter, were the authors of the “Programme of action HRC” and played a significant role in the history of what is called the “Prague spring”.

Much of what was happening in Czechoslovakia, I was literally on the fingers explained to my mentor and teacher of Russian origin, Professor of the Charles University, and especially the former white guard, kornilovets-immigrant, Professor of Slavic studies at Leonti kopetskaya. Leontius Vasilevich, giving me a lot of time, I wanted to see what the future holds for his homeland. And I was able to use it to penetrate the psychology of the Czech intelligentsia, with whom I talked here, in his apartment, to grasp the real explanation of the origin of what in history was called “the Project of socialism with a human face”. It just so happened that my first informational interview, in this case, as a graduate trainee of the faculty of philosophy of Moscow state University, was held in the office of Professor Paul Makhonina, also Russian. He asked me to move from the student hostel to the apartment of his former boss Leontius kopetskaya. So I, in fact, settled for a few weeks at the headquarters of the Russian white guard emigration in Prague. And I’m the staff then learned that it is important today to know all those who are trying to determine the nature and origins of the “Prague spring”? In fact, the “Prague spring”, the radicalisation of the opposition sentiments of the Czech intelligentsia in everything connected with the Soviet Union, began not as is commonly believed, with the coming to power in Czechoslovakia in January 1968, the Dubcek team, and in early June 1967, when the Secretary of the writers ‘ Union of Czechoslovakia, the son of Russian immigrants Peter Makhonin, during a meeting of the Congress of the Czechoslovak writers read aloud a letter by Alexander Solzhenitsyn the IV Congress of Soviet writers, which took place in may this year in Moscow. In this letter, as you know, Solzhenitsyn insisted on the abolition of censorship, the liberation of the Soviet writer, the whole of culture from the need to think in terms of state ideology, demanded access to works of Russian emigration, Russian writers in exile.

And really, if you compare the content of the text of the letter of Alexander Solzhenitsyn to the fourth Congress of Soviet writers with the “action Program of the CPC”, which was created by the heroes of my story, OTA Shik and Radovan Rykhta, you will see that the political part of the latter merely repeats the demands of Solzhenitsyn, and especially his idea of the autonomy of culture and science from the state ideology.

It turns out that actually not the West, not the CIA provoked the “Prague spring”, according to our current conspiracy theorists, and our own Alexander Solzhenitsyn. And most interesting is that the idea of announcement letters of Solzhenitsyn at the Congress of writers of Czechoslovakia belongs to the son of a Russian immigrant Peter Mahonina. It turns out, the Russians began this Bolshevik Communist experiment, Russians did everything possible to destroy its ideological foundations. At least it is obvious that the letter of Alexander Solzhenitsyn played a much more important role in the initiation of the “Prague spring” than Western radio stations.

And last, with regard to the economic program of the “Prague spring”. Then, as I was instructed Kopecky, before I went to the Institute of Economics CHAN to interview Comes a Chic, “it is necessary to distinguish beliefs from Czech of all, because of its striking natural caution, unwillingness to risk the most important — life. As for Comes Bling, he, as a former worker, a Communist underground worker who spent 5 years in a German concentration camp, is a staunch Communist and still believe in Communist ideals. But many other reformers think about how to simultaneously get away from the absurdities of the Soviet economy, but, on the other hand, do not cross the red line not to frighten Moscow, to prevent the recurrence of Budapest in November 1956”.

And a perfect illustration of this, in my opinion, already had ideas of the second author “Programme of action”, which, in contrast, Comes a Chic, wrote her political part. Here Radovan Rykhta already just anticipating the program of the Polish “Solidarity” in 1980, arguing that it is not in the correctness of Marx, but simply that he invented the mechanisms of socialism are incompatible with the requirements of the scientific-technical revolution. As he explained to me that genuine scientific planning is incompatible with the dependency of science from the state ideology of the ruling party. Hence his idea, which was included in “action Programme” — scientific independence from state ideology. Radovan Rykhta, as I thought, in contrast, Comes a Chic, already freed from belief in the truth of Marxism and sought legal ways to get away from his dogma, his doctrine of the subsistence of the Communist economy.

Thus, if OTA Shik do believe in the possibility of what is called third way, other ideologists of the “Prague spring” with his ideas just built the stairs, which can slowly reach the top of the fence of the Soviet system, and if possible, I have to throw down, to what it was before 1948, to normal, usual Europe.

God knows, I do not think that Russia is Motherland of elephants. But as a man who for more than half a century actively involved in the ideological life in the USSR and, after 1991, the Russian Federation, I can say that it was not the Czechs during the “Prague spring” of any idea, which in one form or another was in circulation among the Soviet intelligentsia. And I mean ideas circulating in the public space. Did the organization of the so-called team contract Khudenko in Siberia were not carrying the idea of combining planned economy with economic calculation? “Prague spring” actually was a direct continuation of the Khrushchev thaw, which she, the “Prague spring”, in fact, killed.

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