Russian Doc on 1968 Invasion of Czechoslovakia Sees Backlash

Russia Foreign Ministry Building Moscow - H - 2015
Associated Press

The Czech Republic and Slovakia say the film is misleading and "falsifies historical truth."

The Czech Republic and Slovakia are upset by a recent Russian TV documentary on the 1968 Soviet Union-led invasion of Czechoslovakia, which they say was "misleading."

On Monday, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek summoned Russia's ambassador to complain about the documentary Warsaw Pact – Unclassified Pages, which was aired by Rossiya 1, a channel run by the state-run Russian broadcaster VGTRK, in late May.

The ministry's spokesperson was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that the minister considers the documentary "misleading." The Slovak foreign ministry took a similar stand, saying that the film "tries to rewrite history and falsify historical truth," according to the AP report.

In line with the recent ideological stand of embellishing the Soviet past and promoting anti-Western propaganda, the film claims that the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia by armies from five Warsaw Pact countries was necessary to prevent a military coup backed by the West.

Meanwhile, the broadcaster brushed off the accusations. Pyotr Fyodorov, head of VGTRK's international relations directorate, was quoted by the Russian news agency Interfax as saying that the film was made with observance of journalistic and ethical norms and contains just opinions of historians and participants in the events and facts.

"Never in the film, the voiceover says that something is right or true," he said. "The film just accumulates stories from those who witnessed the events."

"On the other hand, some facts that are in the film are not quite comfortable for contemporary Central Europe," he went on to say. "But those are facts and they don't have to be comfortable."