August 21, 1968 - Some victims of Soviet occupation still without compensation

THIRTY-EIGHT years after Warsaw Pact troops invaded the former Czechoslovakia, several victims remain without the compensation due to them.

August 21, 1968 marked the end of pro-democratic changes in the former communist Czechoslovakia led by Alexander Dubček, and started a period of communist retrenchment that culminated in 1970s, known as “normalization”.

Last year, MPs agreed that the families of people killed during the invasion by the "brotherly" troops should receive compensation of Sk180,000, while half of this sum should go to people who were severely injured.

According to the Hospodárske noviny daily, the state has so far paid out only Sk4 million in compensation.

"Of the 96 requests that we received, we have so far approved compensation in 51 cases, 10 of which were deaths," said Ján Zanovit of the Justice Ministry.

According to the National Memory Institute, 19 people were killed during the invasion while another 130 were injured.

Other people have also demanded compensation for damages caused during the invasion. Among them are people blacklisted by the central committee of the Communist Party for anti-regime activities.

The list includes Izidor Počiatek, the father of current Slovak Finance Minister Ján Počiatek.

"I supported Dubček's program and was also against the occupation. Ever since then I had problems finding a job and could not travel abroad," Izidor Počiatek said.

Among the current Slovak public figures on the black list are: Vladimír Mečiar, the head of the ruling Movement for a Democratic Slovakia; Michal Kováč, Slovakia's former president; Miklós Duray, a member of the opposition Hungarian Coalition Party; and Slovak novelists Dominik Tatarka and Ladislav Ťažký.

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