“Vysočanský” Congress

In May 1968 the leadership of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia [KSČ] under Alexander Dubček decided to summon an extraordinary congress that should have been held on 9th September 1968. At the turn of June the elections of delegates in the regional organizations of the Party took place at all levels. Their results mirrored clearly the strengthening of the positions of the pro-reform members of the party. Fear from the course of the September congress was one of the reasons why the Soviet politburo decided for an armed intervention.[1]

In an immediate response to invasion on 21st August 1968, the forced removal of the party leaders[2] to the USSR and the attempts of the pro-Soviet members of the Communist party to establish a “worker-agrarian” government, the extraordinary meeting was summoned spontaneously by the elected delegates led by the Municipal Committee of the Party in Prague. It was held on 22nd August and took place in the company canteen of ČKD Vysočany, hence “Vysočanský” congress. During this meeting, resolutions that condemned the invasion were approved and a new Central Committee was elected. Nonetheless, on 26th September a Czechoslovak state and party delegation signed so called Moscow Protocols in which the “Vysočanský” congress was invalidated. A similar decision was later adopted by the extraordinary congress of the Slovak Communist Party under the leadership of anti-reformist Gustav Husák. On 31st August 1968 the Moscow Protocols were officially accepted by the Central Committee of the Communist Party and on 11th December 1970 the Central Committee accepted the infamous document called Lessons from the Crisis Development in the Party and Society after 13th Congress, where the “Vysočanský” congress was labelled one of the main platforms of the alleged anti-Soviet counter-revolution.

In 1977 the Federal Minister of the interior, Jaromír Obzina, outlined the task of creating a documentation summary of the “counter-revolutionary activities” in Czechoslovakia, to be completed before the 14th congress in 1971. For this purpose a special committee was established under the supervision of František Stárek, chief of the Counterintelligence Department for Combating the Internal Enemy (codenamed Directorate X.). Stárek’s committee defined its objective as follows: “to clarify fully the tasks of the imperialistic intelligent forces, anticommunist centres, rightwing opportunists and anti-socialist subversive elements in the preparations of the counterrevolution overthrow in Czechoslovakia”. On 17th November 1977 Stárek sent instruction to the chief of the Military Counter-intelligence Main Directorate, Cyril Ohrablo, to provide all the necessary materials to the aforementioned special committee. One of the documents was also a report of the participation of the Research Institute 401 Praha and other parts of the Czechoslovak People’s Army in the preparation and organisation of the “Vysočanský” congress.

This archival material is part of as yet uncatalogued archival collection of Military Counter-intelligence.

[1] See CVRČEK, Lukáš: Vysočany 1968: mimořádný XIV. sjezd KSČ. Securitas imperii, sv. 15/1, (2009), s. 138–183.

[2] Alexander Dubček, Oldřich Černík, Josef Smrkovský, František Kriegel, Bohumil Šimon and Josef Špaček.