Moscow's statement clear: Dubcek out, pro-Russians in


MOSCOW, Aug. 21, 1968 (UPI) - The overthrow of the Czechoslovak regime of Alexander Dubcek and its replacement by pro-Soviet leaders was a foregone conclusion, diplomatic sources said today.

Dubcek's removal was read clearly by qualified observers in the Soviet statement which said Russian forces will be withdrawn "when the lawful authorities find that further presence of these armed units is no longer necessary."


Dubcek and his colleagues obviously are no longer considered "lawful authorities."

Somewhere in Czechoslovakia a "new" Czechoslovak government probably has already been formed and will be recognized by Russia, Poland, Hungary, East Germany and Bulgaria, observers said.

Dispatches from Prague reported that leaflets dropped from planes said that Antonin Novotny is the "legal" chief of Czechoslovakia. Novotny, a Stalinist, was ousted as party leader and president last January by Dubcek, who then began a series of liberal reforms which angered Russia.

The ouster of Dubcek was foreshadowed in an editorial in the Communist Party newspaper Pravda today under the headline "Calculations and Miscalculations of Czechoslovakia's Enemies."

The article reviewed the Soviet-Czechoslovak controversy and said the Czechoslovak leaders had not fulfilled the pledges undertaken at the Bratislava six-power conference of Aug. 3.


The paper said, "the domestic reactionary forces with foreign aid" were aiming "to detach Czechoslovakia from the Socialist community and restore capitalism."

From the outset of the crisis in January, the Russians indicated they would intervene militarily only if they considered the Communist regime threatened.

The Kremlin took the extreme risk of military action even though it may involve:

--The further fragmentation of the Communist camp with Romania, for all practical purposes, no longer a member of the Warsaw Alliance. This is the fourth time within the last few months the Romanians have been ignored on such fateful decisions as the Dresden, Warsaw and Bratislava conferences and now the military action in Czechoslovakia.

--Alienation of many of the West European Communist Parties which, before the Bratislava conference, clearly indicated their support for the Dubcek reforms and opposition to Soviet policy.

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