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More Russians Approve of Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia Than Oppose It, Poll Says

Valentin Sobolev, Vasily Yegorov / TASS

More Russians have said that they approve of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 than view it as a mistake, an independent Levada Center poll has said.

Tuesday, Aug. 21, marks the 50th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia that crushed the Prague Spring, an attempt by local reformists to establish “socialism with a human face.” Czechoslovakia remained under Soviet influence for the next 20 years until change came peacefully in the 1980s.

Thirty-six percent of Levada’s respondents said the decision to quash the Prague Spring was “definitely” or “rather” correct, while 19 percent said the Soviet Union was wrong in the survey published Tuesday.

Another 45 percent were unable to answer one way or another.

“These events are being forced out of the public memory,” The Guardian quoted Levada director Lev Gudkov as saying Sunday.

Fifty-four percent of those polled by Levada said they had some level of knowledge about the invasion, of whom only 11 percent said they had “in-depth knowledge” and 21 percent said they had “heard or read about it.”

Commenting on the finding that only 10 percent of respondents in the 18-to-35 age group said they had knowledge of the Prague Spring intervention, Gudkov told The Guardian that “young people don’t know and don’t want to know about what happened.”

Levada conducted the poll among 1,600 Russians in 52 Russian regions on March 7-12.

Reuters contributed reporting to this article.

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