Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Russian dissident supports Czech presidential bidder Drahoš

ČTK |
22 January 2018

Prague, Jan 19 (CTK) - Pavel Litvinov, one of the eight participants in a protest against the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia in Moscow's Red Square, wrote a letter expressing his support for Drahos in the presidential runoff, which historian Adam Hradilek has sent to CTK.

Hradilek has been studying the life stories of participants in the 1968 protest for a number of years.

Litvinov was pleased after the first round of the election that the majority of the country voted for candidates who want the Czech Republic to be a free and confident country that is a solid part of the western world, he writes.

Litvinov lives in the USA, but says he is eagerly following the developments in central Europe and in the Czech Republic, just like 50 years ago.

"In 1968, with hope that the Prague Spring (communist reform movement) would ignite the Moscow spring and lead to a liberalisation of the regime, which was oppressing both your and mine country for decades. Now I hope that the Czech nation headed by you will halt the gradual displacement of democracy by populism because there is a threat that this populism may seize Europe and the USA," Litvinov writes about Drahos.

Litvinov previously criticised Czech President Milos Zeman for his statements that there are no political prisoners in Russia and for his attitudes to conflicts between Russia and Ukraine.

The sons of dissident Natalya Gorbanevskaya, whom Zeman granted the state award in 2014, called on him then to stand up for political prisoners in Russia. Zeman generally denounced the existence of political prisoners and he challenged it that the prisoners labelled as political in Russia were in fact political prisoners. He requested their list from them, received it, but never responded to it.

Although retired now, he is still an active advocate of human rights and democracy. He often comments on the current political situation in the USA and in the countries of the former Soviet bloc.

He voiced his trust that Czechs will not trade the values that were hard to attain for "the interests of rulers without moral fibre who are only concerned with their own profit."

In his letter to Drahos, Litvinov wished him a victory "for your and our freedom," the same one he had used during the protest in August 1968.

The protesters at Moscow's Red Square, also known as the "Magnificent Eight", were persecuted by the Soviet regime for their courageous act. Litvinov's fellow protesters were Natalya Gorbanevskaya, Konstantin Babicki, Tatiana Bayeva, Larisa Bogorazova, Vadim Delone, Viktor Faynberg and Vladimir Dremlyuga.

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