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Communist boss to be prosecuted

Vasil Biĺak, secretary general of the Communist Party before 1989, will face charges over the infamous 1968 invasion by Warsaw Pact troops of the former Czechoslovakia. The Interior Ministry says that Biĺak played a crucial role in the affair by personally inviting foreign troops to his country. Biľak, however, denies that he gave the crucial letter of invitation to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.
At a December 14 press conference in Bratislava, Jaroslav Ivor, head of the Interior Ministry's investigation section, stated that Biĺak will be charged with violating the law on the protection of public peace, and two laws governing economic relationships between east-bloc countries.


Worried. Vasil Biľak, ideologist to the former communist regime.3
Vladimír Hák-Profit

Vasil Biĺak, secretary general of the Communist Party before 1989, will face charges over the infamous 1968 invasion by Warsaw Pact troops of the former Czechoslovakia. The Interior Ministry says that Biĺak played a crucial role in the affair by personally inviting foreign troops to his country. Biľak, however, denies that he gave the crucial letter of invitation to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev.

At a December 14 press conference in Bratislava, Jaroslav Ivor, head of the Interior Ministry's investigation section, stated that Biĺak will be charged with violating the law on the protection of public peace, and two laws governing economic relationships between east-bloc countries.

Ivor also stressed that Biĺak himself had confessed to his guilt. During a pre-trial investigation conducted by the ministry, Ivor said, Biľak admitted to having given Brezhnev a letter inviting Soviet and Warsaw pact troops onto Czechoslovak soil at their Bratislava meeting in August 1968.

Biľak, who is an 81 year-old communist ideologist, claimed he had not been responsible for the invasion. "I cannot confess to something I didn't do. I didn't give Leonid Brezhnev the letter. This is what I can swear to as a Christian, a citizen, as whatever," Biĺak told the state-run TASR press agency on December 14.

But many politicians in the current parliament are turning a deaf ear to Biľak's protests. "Whether it's the case of [former Chilean dictator Augusto] Pinochet, or something else, the justice system in some countries has to deal with incidents which have lost their contemporary relevance ," said Ján Budaj, a parliamentary deputy for the ruling SDK party who was persecuted by the communists for his actions and opinions. "There is still a [moral] need to tell the truth about the past," Budaj added.

On December 14, an investigator from the Bratislava Regional Investigation Office delivered a file on Biĺak's illegal activities to the Interior Ministry. The file included a proposal for an indictment.

Ivor said that the 522-page file was compiled from thousands of pages of investigation materials. During the inquiry, Biĺak said that the letter was only an analysis of the political situation in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Ivor stated, however, that Biĺak's guilt was virtually assured due to "logical relations within the web of proofs, including the documentation of [Biĺak's] activities before, during as well as after the invasion."

Biĺak was the leading ideologist of the neo-Stalinist regime that was set up in Czechoslovakia after Warsaw Pact armies suppressed the progressive Prague Spring movement by occupying the country. He was interrogated after 1989 concerning violations of the law when he was a Communist official.

According to the independent SITA press agency, Biĺak, who showed up at a May Day rally organized by the Slovak Communist Party in Bratislava this year, believes that socialism will return because "it is a historical development, and it is not important whether it will be 50 or 60 years from now. The resurrection of socialism will take place because it is the destiny of mankind."

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